The unfavorable semiconductor business and restructuring expenses forced Hitachi Ltd. into the red in the business year that ended March 31, with a consolidated net loss of 338.8 billion yen,the firm announced on Thursday.

The loss is the firm’s first since it started making consolidated reports in 1963, officials of the country’s major electronics manufacturer said.

Hitachi posted 223.3 billion yen in a pretax loss for the business year on 7.98 trillion yen in consolidated sales, down 5.2 percent from the previous year, mainly due to declining memory chip prices and falling demand for display components for computers.

While sales decreased in all of the firm’s five segments such as consumer products and power and industrial systems, the semiconductor sector alone posted a loss amounting to about 100 billion yen, the officials said.

The firm also included 132.5 billion yen in non-operating expenses to restructure its domestic and overseas subsidiaries.

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. on Thursday reported a 44.5 billion yen net loss and 113.8 billion yen pretax loss on 3.79 trillion yen in consolidated sales, which were almost the same level as the previous year.

The firm’s officials attributed the losses to restructuring expenses of its overseas affiliates in the semiconductor, audiovisual equipment and personal computer fields, as well as writing off debts related to its employee pension fund.

Both Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. expect the semiconductor business will improve in the current business year ending March 2000.

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