Hitachi Ltd. reported May 29 consolidated pretax profits of 263.3 billion yen for the 1996 business year, which ended March 31, down 24 percent from the previous year.

The firm blamed the reduction in profits on falling semiconductor prices. Hitachi’s consolidated operating profit also dropped 11 percent to 297.17 billion yen, according to the company’s financial report.

However, backed by brisk sales of information-related products, such as computers and switching devices for telephone networks, the firm’s consolidated sales income reported a record high of 8.52 trillion yen, up 5 percent from the previous year. Although profitability from semiconductors is declining, the company plans to invest 150 billion yen in the current business year for expanding semiconductor lines because there is still high demand for 64 megabit DRAM memory chips.

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