Two consumer electronics manufacturing giants from Japan, Sony and Matsushita, reported their performances for the fiscal year ended March 31.
Matsushita Electric Industrial fiscal-year A/V equipment sales were $17.5 billion, a 7 percent increase over the year-earlier $16.3 percent.
This upward movement helped boost the company's AVC networks category to a 4 percent sales gain during the fiscal 12 months, reaching $36.6 billion, up from $35.3 billion in the year-ago period.
Despite slow sales of audio equipment in overseas markets, strong sales were recorded in AVC networks for plasma televisions, DVD recorders and other digital A/V equipment during the fiscal year.
Overseas sales of video and audio equipment climbed 5 percent during the year, reaching $12.2 billion. Overseas sales of information and communications equipment, however, dropped 2 percent, to $9.6 billion during the 12 months.
Matsushita's AVC networks segment moved into the black during the fiscal year, coming in with profit of $877 million, compared with a loss of $313 million in the prior 12 months.
Matsushita sales to the Americas dropped 4 percent during the 12 months, down to $11.6 billion, compared with $12 billion one year ago. Profit in the Americas, however, moved into the black during the year, reaching $187 million, compared with a loss of $34.1 million year-on-year.
While Sony reported lower CE sales for the fiscal year, its CE income increased. The company blamed a 6.5 percent decrease in CE sales for its fiscal year mainly on a decline in sales of Aiwa products and VAIO personal computers, Sony recorded total CE sales for the 12 months of $41.2 billion, down from $44 billion in the year-ago period.
However, the benefits of restructuring initiatives and the contribution to profitability of digital still cameras and projection TVs, helped Sony's CE segment move solidly into the black for the year. Operating income hit $345 million for the 12 months, compared with a loss of $9.6 million the previous year.
Although audio sales for the 12 months dropped 8.7 percent, to $5.7 billion, down from $6.2 billion the previous year, video and televisions stayed in the positive column. Video sales for the year climbed 2.1 percent, reaching $6.9 billion, up from $6.7 billion in the year-ago period, mainly due to a significant increase in digital still camera sales. Television sales edged up 0.4 percent in the 12 months, to $7.1 billion, from $7 billion a year earlier, thanks to rising demand for large-screen sets.
For the fiscal fourth quarter, all three CE categories produced negative results. Audio sales dropped 10 percent, to $1.1 billion, from $1.2 billion in the same three months last year. Video slid 6.7 percent, down to $1.2 billion, compared with $1.3 billion the previous year. Televisions were off a whopping 18.3 percent in the fourth quarter, coming in at $1.5 billion, down from $1.8 billion year-on-year.
Sony's sales to the United States during its fiscal year were down 2.3 percent, to $20 billion, from $20.5 billion the previous year. Operating revenue in the U.S. declined 16.3 percent over the year, to $4 billion, from $4.8 billion a year earlier.
Sony's game segment recorded a 4.9 percent decrease in sales during the 12 months, down to $8 billion, from a year-earlier $8.4 billion. The company blamed the drop on strategic price reductions of PlayStation2 hardware.
Dollar volume in PlayStation2 hardware to the United States decreased during the year, while unit sales increased. Both dollar volume and unit sales of software increased to the United States.
Overall game segment operating income for the 12 months jumped 35.9 percent, to $939 million, up from $689.3 million in the year-ago period.
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