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With yen at four-year low, Fujitsu to up PC prices

Bloomberg

Fujitsu Ltd. plans to raise domestic prices for personal computers because the yen’s drop to a four-year low is boosting the cost of importing components.

The price increases will take effect by July and apply to models released in the summer, Chief Financial Officer Kazuhiko Kato said in an interview at Fujitsu’s Tokyo headquarters. The company may also curb discounts on existing lines, he said.

Fujitsu’s FMV series relies on imported components and software, including chips from Intel Corp. and the Windows operating system from Microsoft Corp. The yen weakened beyond 101 per dollar last week, the first time at that level since April 2009, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spearheads measures to drive down the currency to revive the economy and end deflation.

“It’s impossible to change our suppliers as we’ve been taking measures to combat a strong yen,” Kato said.

The PC maker plans to increase the use of materials common to multiple models to lower costs and reduce the number of products it sells, he said.

The slide in the currency is making Japanese products more competitive in overseas markets, boosting export-heavy firms.

Fujitsu got 66 percent of its sales from the domestic market in the year ended March.

The company, Japan’s biggest provider of computer services to companies, is focusing on information and communications technology, including cloud computing, to weather a slump in sales of chips used in televisions and other electronics.

About 5,000 jobs are being cut while 4,500 workers will be transferred to other companies, it said in February.

Fujitsu last month forecast net income of ¥45 billion this fiscal year, after reporting a ¥72.9 billion loss for the 12 months ended March. Sales will probably rise 3.8 percent to ¥4.55 trillion.

Toshiba Corp. may also raise PC prices, it said May 8.

Global PC unit shipments fell 14 percent in the first quarter — the worst such decline on record — to 76.3 million, market researcher IDC said April 10. The slump was the steepest since IDC began tracking quarterly shipments in 1994, as buyers opted for smartphones and tablet computers and Microsoft’s newest OS met with weak demand.

In Japan, “PC shipments were in line with expectations in the first quarter,” as some economic improvement helps support commercial replacement demand, IDC said in the statement.