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High-tech giants Toshiba Corp., NEC Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. on Thursday reported decreased sales and huge losses for the 2001 business year, blaming the slump in global demand for semiconductors and a sharp decline in prices.

Fujitsu reported operating losses on both a consolidated and unconsolidated basis for the first time since it went public in 1949.

Fujitsu Senior Executive Vice President Takashi Takaya said one of the main reasons for the loss was a decline in sales of optical cables for telecom carriers in North America.

The computer maker’s consolidated operating losses came to 74.43 billion yen, a turnaround from the consolidated operating profit of 244.03 billion yen achieved a year earlier.

Fujitsu also incurred a consolidated pretax loss of 157.15 billion yen, in contrast to a pretax profit of 189.75 billion yen in 2000, and a consolidated net loss of 382.54 billion yen, sharply down from a consolidated net profit of 8.52 billion yen the previous year. Group sales fell 8.7 percent to 5.01 trillion yen.

Toshiba reported a record consolidated net loss of 254.02 billion yen for 2001. In 2000, the electronics maker posted a consolidated net profit of 96.17 billion yen.

Toshiba also incurred a consolidated operating loss of 113.58 billion yen, compared with a consolidated operating profit of 232.13 billion yen in 2000.

It posted a consolidated pretax loss of 376.69 billion yen, a drastic plunge from the consolidated pretax profit of 188.1 billion yen it achieved a year earlier. Group sales fell 9.4 percent to 5.39 trillion yen.

Toshiba Corporate Senior Executive Vice President Kiyoaki Shimagami blamed the losses on the global slowdown in the information technology sector and the costs incurred by the group’s restructuring effort.

“The business environment drastically changed when demand for electronic components dropped 30 percent annually, and we couldn’t adjust to that,” he said.

The company shed 11,000 group employees, including 8,200 workers through voluntary retirement programs, in the 2001 business year.

NEC likewise reported disappointing results for 2001. Its consolidated operating loss came to 55.52 billion yen, way down from the consolidated operating profit of 185.18 billion yen it posted in 2000.

NEC incurred a consolidated pretax loss of 461.18 billion yen, compared to the consolidated pretax profit of 92.32 billion yen the previous year, and a consolidated net loss of 312.02 billion yen, down from a consolidated net profit of 56.6 billion yen. Group sales fell 5.7 percent to 5.1 billion yen.

For the current business year, the three companies plan to improve their performance by riding on the tail of the recovering U.S. economy, officials of the firms said, adding that they believe demand will return for personal computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices.

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