Sharp President Mikio Katayama took the podium at the company's results meeting Feb 1, 2012, and answered questions about the results for the first to third quarters of fiscal 2011 and future strategies to improve the company's performance.
The major questions and answers exchanged at the meeting are as follows.
Q: When will the LCD TV business (which posted a loss in the third quarter of fiscal 2011) return to profitability?
Katayama: The LCD TV business had turned a profit until the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2011 but fell into the red in the third quarter. And it will suffer a deficit in the fourth quarter and the entire fiscal 2011.
The biggest factor for the loss is a rapid demand decrease in the Japanese market. So, for business recovery, it is important to return to profitability in the Japanese market. We will meet this goal at a pretty early date and turn a profit from the entire LCD TV business in fiscal 2012.
Q: Could you explain about the operation statuses of the production lines for LCD panels at the Kameyama and Sakai plants?
Katayama: We have lowered the operation rate (of the production line for large-size LCD TV panels) at the Kameyama Second Plant since December 2011. As we have already announced, We will produce middle- and small-size panels at the plant so that we can increase the operation rate of the line. By reducing the production of large-size LCD TV panels at the plant, we will be able to reduce the deficit of our LCD panel business.
At the Kameyama First Plant, we will start to ship CG silicon TFT panels for smartphones in volume by the summer of 2012.
As for the Sakai Plant, when its production line for large-size LCD TV panels is in full operation, it can provide panels for four to five million TVs. And about half of them are used for our products.
Considering that we are currently selling only about 10% of our panels to other companies, we have to lower the operation rate of the line. So, we will lower the rate by about 50% for a while. Taking advantage of the low operation rate, we might introduce our production technologies for IGZO panels (using oxide semiconductor TFTs) to the Sakai Plant (in addition to the Kameyama Plant).
(Continue to the next page)