Japan Telecom Holdings Co., the owner of Japan’s third-largest telecom carrier, said Tuesday its group net balance for the fiscal first half to Sept. 30 swung back into the black due mainly to cost-cutting and growth in its J-Phone mobile phone services.

Consolidated net profit for the first half came to 43.52 billion yen, up sharply from a loss of 5.19 billion yen the previous year.

Net profit per share was 13,621.67 yen, compared with a loss of 1,624.10 yen per share a year earlier.

Consolidated pretax profit rocketed 836.3 percent to 141.10 billion yen.

The company also credited the improved profitability to brisk operating revenues from Japan Telecom Co.’s fixed-line services.

The company said it will double its midterm and full-year per-share dividends to 600 yen and 1200 yen, respectively, from the preceding fiscal year.

The company attributed the burgeoning J-Phone revenues to the popularity of services that allow its subscribers to exchange still photos and video images.

For the full year to March 31, 2003, Japan Telecom Holdings expects a group net profit of 65 billion yen and a group pretax profit of 245 billion yen on group sales of 1.770 trillion yen.

Japan Telecom Holdings, set up Aug. 1, has nine arms under its wing — including Japan Telecom, which operates fixed-line services, Japan System Solution Co., which develops and runs software for mobile phone customer administration, and Telecom Express Co., which markets mobile phone services operated by J-Phone Co.

British mobile phone giant Vodafone Group PLC owns 66.7 percent of Japan Telecom Holdings.

Phone shipments fall

Domestic shipments of cell phones and personal handy-phone system handsets fell 38.8 percent in September from a year earlier to 2.86 million units, marking the 16th consecutive month of decline, an industry association said Tuesday.

The figure reflects declining demand for replacing cell phones, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association said.

Shipments of mobile phones, including car phones, fell 36.2 percent from a year earlier to 2.78 million units for the second consecutive month, returning to a downward trend that occurred between June 2001 and June this year, the association said.

Compared with August, shipments dropped 14.6 percent, falling for the third straight month, it said.

Shipments of PHS handsets in September plunged 76.1 percent from a year earlier to 74,000 units down for the 19th consecutive month, while shipments in the April-September period fell 63.4 percent to 560,000, it said.

The September data brought shipments of cell phones and PHS handsets in the April-September period to 20.33 million, down 23.2 percent from a year earlier.

Cell phone shipments in the six-month period slipped 20.8 percent to 19.77 million.

The shipment data were based on figures supplied by 16 cell phone manufacturers and 15 PHS makers.

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