Business

Matsushita sees 12-fold rise in profit

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said Thursday its net profit for the April-June quarter soared 12-fold to 32.82 billion yen on strong sales of plasma display-panel TVs and cost-cutting efforts.

Revenue grew 19 percent to 2.1 trillion yen, including 350.5 billion yen from Matsushita Electric Works Ltd., a lighting and housing equipment company that was fully consolidated into the firm’s earnings from the reporting period.

During the three-month period, the Osaka-based company, which markets under the Panasonic name, saw continued strength in sales of its PDP TVs and DVD recorders. Sales of PDP TVs jumped 2.2-fold to 45.3 billion yen.

Sales of these popular digital electronics products increased at home and abroad, except in the United States where the company suffered due to a strong yen. In China, sales jumped 30 percent.

The company said home appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers, also contributed to a strong performance at home, thanks to the popularity of its new models.

However, the firm continued to face steep downward price pressures during the quarter.

It said falling product prices wiped away 58.7 billion yen from its operating profit, compared with the same period the year before.

But it was able to more than offset the loss by about 62.1 billion yen by cutting costs.

Given the better-than-expected first quarter results, the company raised its forecast for the first half but made no change to the full-year projection, citing uncertainty about the second half.

Fujitsu narrows loss

The Associated Press Fujitsu Ltd. on Thursday reported that strong sales helped it narrow its net loss in the April-June quarter to 11.8 billion yen, less than a third of its loss in the same quarter last year.

The results represented a major turnaround from the 39.8 billion yen net loss recorded in the first quarter of fiscal 2003, and the company credited performance in semiconductor, hard disk drive and plasma display panel sales.

“We’ve made a solid start out of the gate in fiscal 2004,” Fujitsu President Hiroaki Kurokawa said in a statement. “I believe these results put us on track for a very strong year.”

Fujitsu reported sales of 1.01 trillion yen for the first quarter, an increase of 7.4 percent over the same period last year.

Sales rebounded sharply in servers, mobile and IP networks and other categories in Fujitsu’s platforms segment, the company said.

In that sector, sales were 359.4 billion yen, an increase of 15.1 percent over the same period last year. Sharp advances in sales both in Japan and overseas reflected the recovery in IT spending during the quarter.

In electronics, strong demand for logic chips and Flash memory used in mobile phones and digital AV products, as well as for plasma display panels and liquid crystal displays in advance of this summer’s Olympic Games in Athens, helped drive a 25.4 percent gain in sales to 203.9 billion yen.

Sales in software and services rose a modest 0.3 percent to 384.5 billion yen. Performance in Japan was weak, but the segment was profitable overseas, the company said.

Hitachi posts upturn

Staff report Hitachi Ltd. said Thursday it posted a net profit of 16.04 billion yen in April-June quarter, marking a turnaround from a 38.40 billion yen net loss a year earlier.

It said revenue was up 9 percent to 2.06 trillion yen.

Hitachi benefited from strong demand for digital consumer electronics, which boosted sales of hard-disk drives and liquid crystal display panels used for mobile handsets and flat TVs. Its plasma display panel TVs also enjoyed brisk sales.

During the quarter, its all-business divisions, ranging from electronic components to financial services, posted a profit, with the notable exception of power and industrial systems, which suffered due to weak demand for power generation plant equipment.

It saw double-digit revenue growth in Europe and Asia.

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