Japan's Sharp raises forecast after 1st quarterly profit in over 2 years

A logo of Sharp Corp is pictured at CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) JAPAN 2016 at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan, October 3, 2016. Picture taken October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/Files

TOKYO (Reuters) - Sharp Corp lifted its full-year profit guidance after posting its first quarterly net profit in over two years as the Japanese liquid crystal display (LCD) maker pressed ahead with cost-cutting measures under the ownership of Taiwan's Foxconn. Sharp, a major supplier of LCD panels to Apple Inc, raised its operating profit forecast to 37.3 billion yen ($329.85 million) for the year ending in March from an earlier forecast of 25.7 billion, the company said in a statement on Friday. Net profit was 4.2 billion yen for October-December, compared with a 24.7 billion yen loss in the same period a year earlier. It was the first profit on a net basis since July-September 2014. The result missed a Thomson Reuters Starmine SmartEstimate of 4.6 billion yen drawn from four analysts. SmartEstimates give greater weight to recent forecasts by top-rated analysts. The return to profit comes as Sharp tapped Foxconn's massive parts procurement power, reviewed the lineup of products and implemented various measures to cut fixed costs. Sharp also benefited as production cutbacks by Korean rivals in LCD panels for television sets fuelled an industry-wide shortage of panels and pushed up market prices. Its core display device unit posted an operating profit of 11 billion yen, against a 11 billion yen loss a year prior, swinging back to profit for the first time in two years. Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, bought two-thirds of Sharp for around $3.7 billion in August. ($1 = 113.0800 yen) (Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)