Sharp swings to first quarterly profit in 2 years, helped by weak yen

Reuters

* Q2 net profit 13.6 bln yen, operating profit 30.8 bln yen

* Year-earlier net loss was 249.2 bln yen

* Company says on track for 5 bln yen 12-month net profit

TOKYO, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Japan's Sharp Corp reported its first quarterly net profit in two years, beatingestimates, as the weaker yen and revived demand for solar cellsand display panels boosted the consumer electronics maker'sturnaround drive.

Sharp, a supplier of panels for Apple Inc 's iPhone,said on Thursday it made a net profit of 13.6 billion yen ($139million) in its fiscal second quarter, its first since the threemonths ended September 2011.

That easily beat an expected net loss of 9 billion yen,according to Thomson Reuters' Starmine SmartEstimate, theaverage of the most accurate analysts' estimates.

A year earlier, in the trough of a depression brought on bystrong competition from foreign rivals and pressure on itsoverseas revenues from a strong yen, Sharp made a net loss of249.2 billion yen. The yen's slide since last November hasturned Sharp's exports more profitable.

Sharp swung to an operating profit of 30.8 billion yen inJuly-September from an operating loss of 160.9 billion yen ayear earlier.

Sharp has been scrambling to repair its balance sheet sinceracking up a total net loss of 545 billion yen in the lastfiscal year.

A $4.6 billion rescue arranged by banks last year iscontingent upon Sharp posting both an operating and net profitfor the full year.

On Thursday, the company left its net profit forecast forthe fiscal year through March 2014 unchanged at 5 billion yen.

For the first six months of the year, Sharp's net lossnarrowed to 4.3 billion yen from 387.6 billion yen a yearearlier.

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