Sharp panel plant gets lifeline with big orders

Sharp has been helped by partner Hon Hai Precision Industry.

Sharp has been helped by a large order from Samsung Electronics

TOKYO - Japan's Sharp Corp said on Friday output at its money-losing LCD television panel plant had almost tripled to 80 percent of capacity since July, giving the company badly needed cash as it prepares for deeper cost-cutting and asset sales.

In addition to a large order from Samsung Electronics, Sharp has been helped by partner Hon Hai Precision Industry, which has garnered business from US TV maker Vizio and Sony Corp.

The news helped Sharp's shares gain 5.5 percent on Friday compared with a 1 percent decline for the broader market.

Sharp is confident it can maintain 80 percent output at Sakai for the remainder of the business quarter ending September 30, and expects to sustain a high usage rate until the end of the year by seeking orders from Chinese TV makers to cover for any dip in demand from Vizio or Sony, the sources said.

Terry Gou, chairman of Hon Hai, who recently bought a 46.5 percent stake in the factory, will travel to western Japan on Thursday to show off the plant to a delegation of visiting Taiwanese businessmen, politicians and bureaucrats led by former vice president Vincent Siew, Taiwan's defacto embassy in Tokyo said on Friday.