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Sharp to raise up $1.7 billion in equity, ups forecasts

By Nobuhiro Kubo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Sharp Corp <6753.T> said on Wednesday it will raise nearly $1.7 billion (1.0 billion pounds) in share sales, marking a step forward in the TV and display maker's turnaround.

The company also raised its business forecasts as a reviving stock market aided its revival.

The supplier of panels for Apple Inc's (NSQ:AAPL) smartphones, is clawing its way back to health after receiving a 360 billion yen ($3.62 billion) rescue from creditor banks last year. It has since received investments from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS> and Qualcomm Inc (NSQ:QCOM).

Osaka-based Sharp said it will sell up to 148.9 billion yen ($1.50 billion) worth of shares to the public and raise 17.5 billion yen ($176.15 million) through third-party placements to partner firms Lixil Group (TYO:5938), Makita Corp <6586.T> and Denso Corp <6902.T>.

The capital injection, which will help Sharp repay debt, is in line with what people familiar with the moves told Reuters on September 12.

One source said the fund-raising will tide the company over through the March end of the business year.

The company last year posted a 545 billion yen net loss, which pushed its capital below 6 percent of equity, well short of the 20 percent ratio widely seen as a financial-stability threshold for manufacturers.

Sharp raised its business forecasts for the half year through September 30, doubling its operating-profit forecast to 30 billion yen. It halved its net-loss projection to 10 billion.

The company now expects to lose 8.52 yen a share for the six months, narrowing the prior forecast of a loss of 17.15 yen a share. Sales are forecast at 1.31 trillion yen a share, up from 1.27 trillion yen previously.

The mobile-phone business has underperformed, but such areas as smartphones, tablet devices and solar batteries have beaten expectations, Sharp said in a statement announcing the revisions.

(Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Matt Driskill)