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The nation’s major chip and computer manufacturers on Thursday reported declines in pretax and net profits in the business year ended March 31 amid sluggish domestic demand and Asia’s financial turmoil.

Mitsubishi Electric was hit hardest. It posted a 105.9 billion yen consolidated net loss for fiscal 1997. Despite record-high sales of 3.8 trillion yen, up 2 percent from the previous year, the net loss at Mitsubishi Electric was the first since 1969, when the firm adopted a consolidated business report system, the officials said.

The company attributed the slack performance to restructuring costs incurred by its affiliates in North America and Europe, weak demand and lower prices for audiovisual equipment. The firm also posted a net loss of 33.8 billion yen on an unconsolidated basis for the first time since 1949, when the firm went public, according to the officials.

Meanwhile, Hitachi Ltd. reported a consolidated net profit of 3.5 billion yen, a 96.1 percent decline from the previous year, on sales of 8.4 trillion yen. Pretax profit came in at 17.2 billion yen, down 34.8 percent from the year before.

The company was also affected by the drop in memory chip prices and sluggish demand for home electric appliances, particularly air conditioners, due to a cool summer last year, the officials said.

Hitachi posted an exchange loss of 35.7 billion yen, of which 25.3 billion yen was connected to the financial crisis in Southeast Asia, according to the officials.

NEC Corp. posted a consolidated pretax profit of 91 billion yen, down 24.9 percent from the previous year, on sales of 4.9 trillion yen, company officials said.

The officials attributed the lackluster result to the decline in domestic demand for personal computers and telecommunications equipment. Shipments of personal computers slid 16 percent in terms of units and 21 percent in terms of value, they said.

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