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UPDATE 1-Sharp swings to first quarterly profit in 2 years, helped by weak yen

Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 | 3:29 AM ET

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* 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, beating estimates, as the weaker yen and revived demand for solar cells and display panels boosted the consumer electronics maker's turnaround drive.

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

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

A year earlier, in the trough of a depression brought on by strong competition from foreign rivals and pressure on its overseas revenues from a strong yen, Sharp made a net loss of 249.2 billion yen. The yen's slide since last November has turned Sharp's exports more profitable.

Sharp swung to an operating profit of 30.8 billion yen in July-September from an operating loss of 160.9 billion yen a year earlier.

Sharp has been scrambling to repair its balance sheet since racking up a total net loss of 545 billion yen in the last fiscal year.

A $4.6 billion rescue arranged by banks last year is contingent upon Sharp posting both an operating and net profit for the full year.

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

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

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