Japan's Sharp Corp <6753.T> reported an 84.4 percent drop in quarterly operating profit after the company was forced to suspend operations for weeks at its state-of-the-art LCD panel plant due to weak demand for TVs.

The company on Thursday posted an operating profit of 3.5 billion yen ($44.89 million) for April-June, versus market expectations of a loss of 8.2 billion yen for the quarter, based on estimates by four analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Last year, Sharp reported a 22.5 billion yen April-June operating profit.

Sharp retained its annual profit forecast at 97 billion yen, compared with an average forecast of 66.4 billion yen, based on the average of 19 analyst forecasts. It reported a profit of 78.9 billion yen for the previous financial year.

Sharp said in June it would switch most production at one of its main TV panel plants to making small and medium-sized panels to take advantage of surging demand for smartphones and tablets such as Apple's iPhone and iPad.

($1 = 77.965 Japanese Yen)

(Reporting by Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Anshuman Daga and Edmund Klamann)