LCD panel maker Sharp sticks manufacturing on hold

Japan’s LCD panel industry is not doing very well in the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake.

While many feared that there would not be enough telly components after the quake, and prices would increase, Sharp has indicated that punters are not buying its LCD panels.

This week it has announced that it is putting production of LCD panels at two of its plants on hold to wait for better times.

According to Reuters, the plants will be quiet at least until May thanks to a slump in domestic demand for televisions and shortages of a gas used in panel production.

Sharp flogs most of its televisions to Japan and said that while it has most of the bits to make tellies, people in the Land of the Rising Sun are just not interested.

Sharp spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama said the company had about a month’s worth of inventory out the back, but following the disaster, demand for flat-panel televisions was not as strong as she or the company had anticipated.

Research outfit BCN said Japan’s March sales of flat-panel TVs came to two-thirds of the previous year’s figure. It was sad for the industry which had been showing signs of recovery since government incentives were slashed in December.

Some of the boost had been because Japan was switching to digital terrestrial broadcasting and things were expected to slow down again.

Production was stopped at Sharp’s Kameyama plant in Mie Prefecture and its state-of-the-art 10th generation Sakai plant in Osaka earlier this month, Reuters has revealed.

Sharp is expected to post a $82.6 million loss in the April-June period. It had been expecting to make a bit of a profit.

It was not all doom and gloom for Sharp. Apparently the outfit has been seeing more demand for small and midsized panels than for large ones.

It seems that the earthquake has made the Japanese a bit more austere.

Sharp expects to resume operations at the two large panel plants after the end of April and early May, Nakayama added.

But production at its Taki and Tenri factories in Nara prefecture, which produce smaller LCD panels, will continue.