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Toshiba Corp. said Friday its net loss widened during the first half due to sharp price reductions in its PC business.

It posted a group net loss of 32.18 billion yen for the April-September period, compared with a 26.41 billion yen loss the previous year. Revenue fell 1 percent to 2.61 trillion yen.

The world’s No. 3 laptop computer maker said the steep PC price reductions hurt sales and profits during the period, despite an increase in sales volume.

The downward pressure is especially intense in North America, where Hewlett-Packard and Dell were engaged in a price war.

Toshiba’s operating loss for its PC and peripherals business was 17 billion yen during the six-month period. It posted a 5.2 billion yen profit a year earlier.

The rising cost of hard disk drives and liquid crystal display panels pushed up PC production costs, it said.

These negative factors forced Toshiba to expand its full-year operating loss estimate for the PC business to 21 billion yen. It had forecast a loss of 8 billion yen a little over a month ago.

In mid-September, the company announced it would reorganize its PC business in a bid to stay competitive. It said it would reduce the number of platforms for its laptop computers and focus more on high-end products.

“We have not been able to achieve cost cutting (in PC production) as planned,” said Sadazumi Ryu, Toshiba’s corporate senior vice president. “It is hard to expect any impressive feats that would improve the situation during the second half, but we will consider possible measures for the later periods.”

Toshiba’s operating profit from its semiconductor business more than doubled to 44 billion yen during the first half, thanks to strong demand of NAND flash memories and so-called multichip package memories, both used for mobile phone handsets.

The firm said that most of the losses made in the PC business will be made up for by strong semiconductor earnings in the latter half of the fiscal year.

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