Hitachi Ltd., which quit making TV sets in 2012 to focus on industrial-power and infrastructure units, is poised to surpass Canon Inc. in market value as camera sales are sapped by smartphones.
Bloomberg has tracked the market capitalizations of Hitachi, Canon, Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. since February 2004, when Canon was in a rally that peaked in July 2007, shortly after Apple Inc. launched the iPhone.
Hitachi is the only company in the group worth more than when Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy in September 2008. It overtook Sony and Panasonic in 2011 and is on pace to overtake the world’s biggest camera maker.
“It’s just a matter of time before the market caps of Hitachi and Canon flip,” said Nobuyuki Fujimoto, senior market analyst at SBI Securities Co., the nation’s biggest online brokerage. “Companies focusing on infrastructure business like Hitachi are healthy and preferable to consumer-technology firms.”
Hitachi generated 37 percent of sales in the quarter ended in September from power and industrial systems, up from 28 percent in the same quarter of 2008. The share from digital-media and consumer products fell in the same period to 8.6 percent from 12 percent, based on the latest financial statements.
Canon, which reported full-year results Wednesday, generated 26 percent of its revenue last year from cameras, little changed from 28 percent in 2009.
The growing sophistication of smartphone cameras led to Canon’s first annual drop in shipments of single-lens reflex models last year.
Hitachi, which ended 56 years of TV making in August 2012, is capitalizing on growth in such countries as India to sell products including construction machinery and industrial air conditioners. Hitachi’s shares jumped 58 percent last year, while Canon’s fell 0.3 percent.
Canon spokesman Richard Berger declined comment, while his Hitachi counterpart, Tadashi Hisanaga, said changes in value are important but decided by the market.
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