Tokyo — Increasing global sales of plasma and projection televisions could not counteract sluggish sales of large home appliances in Japan, leading to a fiscal first half sales decline of 2 percent in the digital media and consumer products segment at Hitachi. Sales for the six months in this consumer electronics division hit $5.3 billion, down from $5.5 billion in the first half of 2002.
However, operating income for the digital media and consumer products segment plunged in the first six months, ended Sept. 30, down to $7 million, compared with $53 million year on year.
Hitachi sales to North America in the first half were flat, coming in at $3.9 billion, a shade below the 2002 figure, even though the company said economic conditions steadily improved in the United States, during this period. Operating income for North America in the first six months was nearly cut in half, decreasing to $15 million, compared with $28 million in the same time frame a year earlier.
At Hitachi Maxell, optical media sales remained healthy, said the company.
Consolidated Hitachi sales in the six months climbed 3 percent, hitting $36.4 billion, up from $36.2 billion in the year-ago period. Operating income, however, dropped to $182.3 million, compared with $569.6 million in the same six months in 2002. Net income decreased to $49 million in the first half, down 5 percent from the $52.3 million reported in last year's first six months.
Looking ahead, Hitachi projects a 2 percent year-over-year consolidated sales increase for the fiscal year, ending March 2004, up to $75.9 billion. Operating income is expected to jump 11 percent, compared with the previous year, to $1.5 billion. The 12-month net income should rise 64 percent, to $91 million year on year.