Electronics firms leapfrog falling semiconductor market

Buoyed by strong sales of computer-related equipment and communications devices such as cellular phones, the nation’s major electronics manufacturers on May 22 reported increases in sales revenues in the business year that ended March 31.

The firms tried to put a damper on the revenue increases by saying they still suffer from declining prices of memory chips, and some firms noted that a further price decline is expected. NEC Corp. reported consolidated sales revenues of 4.95 trillion yen, up 12.5 percent from the previous year. Increased domestic demand for mobile communications equipment and steady growth in the domestic personal computer market contributed to the growth in the sales income.

Due to the drop in semiconductor prices, the firm’s consolidated operating profit dropped 25.8 percent to 183.78 billion yen and its consolidated pretax profit dropped 19.9 percent to 121.22 billion yen. NEC officials said the company’s profit was reduced by nearly 100 billion yen because of falling semiconductor prices.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. reported record-high consolidated sales revenues of 7.68 trillion yen, up 13 percent from a year earlier, helped by growing demand domestically and overseas. Operating profit for the same period rose 41 percent to 373.9 billion yen. Cost-cutting efforts and the favorable effects of the yen’s fall against other major currencies led to the robust upswing, company officials said.

Consolidated sales for Sanyo Electric Co. rose to 1.79 trillion yen, up 4.4 percent from a year earlier. Despite sluggish sales of audio equipment, sales of batteries and video devices rose sharply. Its consolidated operating profit rose 2.9 percent to 61.31 billion yen and its consolidated pretax profit grew. Sanyo plans to invest in its semiconductor business during the current business year.

Consolidated sales for Sharp Corp. rose 8.5 percent to a record high of 1.79 trillion yen, and its consolidated pretax profit grew 2 percent to 88.63 billion yen. The firm’s consolidated operating profit soared, rising 3.9 percent from the previous year.