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Fiscal 1998 was a disaster year for the nation’s electronics industry.

Of seven major electronics firms, five plunged into the red, suffering from worldwide price falls of electronic devices and products, as well as costs for ongoing restructuring efforts, the companies said Friday.

NEC Corp. on Friday reported net losses of 140.3 billion yen for fiscal 1998 on a nonconsolidated basis, the first net losses in the postwar decades.

On a consolidated basis, NEC’s pretax income plummeted from profits of 91 billion yen to losses of 224.7 billion yen, and the net income from profits of 41.3 billion yen to losses of 157.9 billion yen compared with the previous year.

NEC blamed falling prices of semiconductors and decreasing investment from Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., as well as special losses required for its restructuring efforts, including those for U.S.-based computer maker Packard Bell-NEC Inc.

Electronics giants Hitachi and Toshiba also posted historic losses, with almost all of their business segments suffering decreases in fiscal 1998.

Hitachi recorded consolidated net losses of 338.8 billion yen, the first red it has seen since it began making consolidated reports in 1963.

Toshiba also posted net losses of 13.9 billion yen, the first losses in 23 years.

Only Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial posted net profits, though their pretax and net profits also shrank compared with a year ago.

Sony’s consolidated profits are now being sustained by the video game business as the electronic business segment suffers dwindling profits due to price competition and decreased sales in Asia, Russia, Eastern Europe and South Central America.

The operating profits of Sony’s game segment increased 16.7 percent to 136.5 billion yen, exceeding those of the electronics segment, 129.9 billion yen, a drop of 58.7 percent compared with the previous year.

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