Hitachi’s quarterly profit down 77%

The Associated Press

Hitachi Ltd.’s group net profit for the October-December period fell more than three-quarters on lower earnings from securities, the Tokyo-based industrial electronics giant said Monday.

The company posted a 1.26 billion yen profit for the third quarter of the fiscal year ending in March, down 77 percent from the 5.4 billion yen a year before.

Group sales increased 10.2 percent to 2.488 trillion yen in the October-December quarter from 2.259 trillion yen the year before.

The rise came on strong growth in such segments as software and services, computer storage and automotive-related technologies, Hitachi said.

Hitachi said its net loss stood at 76.8 billion yen in the April-December period, up from a 5.5 billion yen net loss for the same period a year earlier.

Profits for the full business year are being dragged down in part by the cost of turbine repairs at nuclear reactors run by Chubu Electric Power Co. and Hokuriku Electric Power Co., the company said.

Hitachi is among Japanese electronics makers that had reported a gradual recovery after suffering a slump when the prices of electronics products plunged and cheaper Asian rivals began to gain global market share.

But the company has again struggled against faster-moving rivals in industries like hard-disk drives. Hitachi, the world’s third-largest supplier of the drives, has been losing market ground in disk drives that go into mobile gadgets, laptops and other consumer electronics.

Meanwhile, Hitachi has made moves to strengthen its auto business. Last fall, it conducted a tender offer for shares of car audio and navigation system maker Clarion, raising its stake to 50 percent.

The company also reached an agreement with General Electric Co. in November to combine their nuclear businesses, forming a global alliance aimed at competing for a growing number of nuclear power projects around the world.

Hitachi left unchanged its loss forecast of 55 billion yen for the fiscal year, on sales of 9.740 trillion yen.

Hitachi released results after the close of trade on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, where its share price shed 3.07 percent to 787 yen.