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Major optical equipment maker Nikon Corp. announced Monday it posted a group net loss of 3.48 billion yen for the first half of the business year due to the slump in the semiconductor market and restructuring costs.

The midterm April-September loss compares with a group net profit of 3.04 billion yen a year earlier.

Its group operating profit during the six months through September plunged 75.4 percent year-on-year to 5.35 billion yen, while group sales were down 8.5 percent to 215.13 billion yen, Nikon officials said.

Nikon will skip dividend payments for the first half. It paid an interim dividend of 4 yen per share a year ago.

The precision equipment segment suffered sharp drops in sales, which were cut almost in half to 55.52 billion yen, and in operating profit, which came in at a loss of 10.01 billion yen.

The image products segment — conventional cameras, digital cameras and lenses — fared better than in the previous year, with sales of 129.94 billion yen and an operating profit of 15.45 billion yen.

Among the one-time items booked during the six-month period, the firm saw a loss of 10.18 billion yen due to an early-retirement incentive package that targeted 700 group employees.

For the full year to March, the firm projects its group profit to break even on revenue of 480 billion yen.

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