By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Eight leading Asian consumer electronics manufacturers reported quarterly results in the past two weeks that showed, in varying degrees, glimmers of an economic recovery.
Some manufacturers showed improved performance in the quarter while others readjusted their fiscal year forecast to reflect an improved outlook.
Samsung had the most bullish report, with net income of 3.72 trillion won on a parent basis for its fiscal third quarter, ended Sept. 30, triple that of its prior year’s third quarter. Revenues were 24.86 trillion won on a parent basis for the quarter, up 29 percent compared with the prior year’s fiscal third quarter.
Strong revenue growth and profits came from both major business units — device solutions, and digital media and communications. Samsung reported renewed demand for premium CE products and improved pricing for memory semiconductors and LCD panels.
The LCD division had an operating profit of 150 billion won, down from the prior year’s 1.05 trillion won. Revenue reached 5.10 trillion won, an 8.1 percent decline year on year. LCD panel prices did increase for such items as notebook computers, TVs smaller than 32 inches and monitors.
The telecommunications divisions had an operating profit of 1 trillion won, up from the prior year’s 890 million won. Revenue rose 27.4 percent to 10.4 trillion won year on year. Sales of mobile handsets increased 16 percent year on year in units, with strong sales in North America. Samsung reported the average sales price for its handsets rose 2 percent, due to increased demand for higher-end devices such as touchscreens.
In its digital media division, operating profits increased a gaudy 657 percent year on year to 1.06 trillion won. Revenue was up 13.8 percent to 11.77 trillion won year on year.
Flat-panel TV sales were up in units by 10 percent, outperforming the 6 percent overall market growth, Samsung said, due to its new line of LED TVs. The company anticipates overall demand for TVs to grow in the 10 percent to 20 percent range, but expects strong price competition.
Sony gave an improved outlook for its fiscal year, but reported a net loss for its fiscal second quarter, ended Sept. 30, of 26.3 billion yen ($292 million), compared with a profit last year of 20.8 billion yen.
Sales and operating revenue were down 19.8 percent to 1.66 trillion yen ($18.5 billion) compared with last year’s second quarter.
Losses occurred due to the appreciation of the yen vs. other currencies, restructuring charges, and losses with Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications and its joint venture for S-LCD with Samsung.
In Sony’s consumer products and devices segment, sales were down 36.5 percent in yen, reaching $8.9 billion in dollars, and operating income was down 86.7 percent, to $99 million. Sales of Bravia LCD TVs decreased, and the line was hurt by lower prices, which was typical in this segment.
Sony’s networked products and services business includes PlayStation consoles and Vaio PCs. Sales were down in yen by 24.2 percent, or in dollars to $3.9 billion (352.6 billion yen). Operating loss deepened to $654 million (58.8 billion yen) from the prior year’s 40.6 billion yen. Sales of its video game and PC lines were down across the board.
Sony revised its forecast for the fiscal year, to end March 31, 2010. The net loss is forecast at 95 billion yen, down from the 120 billion yen forecast in July, with sales at the 7.3 trillion yen level.
Panasonic recovered from a loss in its fiscal first quarter and revised its annual earnings forecast upward. But its consolidated group sales for its fiscal second quarter were 1.73 trillion yen, down 21 percent compared year on year. Net income was 10.08 billion yen, down 84 percent from the prior year’s second quarter.
Panasonic’s forecast for fiscal 2010 ending March 31, 2010, is 7 trillion yen, which remains unchanged, but an increase in operating profit of 45 billion yen to 120 billion yen. Net loss for the year is projected at 140 billion yen, down by 55 billion yen from its previous projection.
For the fiscal second quarter, its digital AVC networks sales decreased 23 percent to 1.5 trillion yen compared with the prior year’s second quarter. In information and communications equipment, weak sales of notebook PCs and other products led to a 26 percent overall sales decrease from a year ago. And in home appliances, sales decreased 18 percent mainly due to air conditioners, although Panasonic reported favorable sales in refrigerators.
Sharp Electronics reported higher net income but lower net sales in its fiscal second quarter, ended Sept. 30. Net income was 7.4 billion yen, more than double from the prior year’s 3.1 billion yen net income. Net sales were 690.3 million yen for the quarter, compared with the prior year’s 814.5 million yen for the quarter.
Sharp also reported that fiscal first half sales were 1.29 billion, down 17.5 percent compared with the same time last year. The net loss for the first half was 17.7 million yen, compared with the prior year’s 28.0 million yen.
In its consumer/information products, business sales for the first half were down 11.5 percent from the same period last year, with sales of LCD TVs down, but Blu-ray sales grew. Sales of information equipment were down 19.2 percent, led by copiers and printers.
In electronic components, LCD sales were down 33.6 percent from the same time last year despite a demand recovery. Price declines in large LCD TVs and a sluggish market for small- and medium-sized LCDs were to blame, Sharp said.
Toshiba reported consolidated net sales of 2.96 trillion yen in its fiscal second quarter, down 539 billion yen from a year ago, while consolidated operating income was 2.7 billion, an improvement from the prior year’s second quarter. Net loss was 57.7 billion yen, 19.2 billion yen deeper than the prior year.
In Toshiba’s digital media business, sales were down 20 percent to 586.1 billion yen. Operating income was down 9.1 billion yen to 6.4 billion yen. Lower sales were reported for TVs, hard disk drives and price erosion. Sales of PCs declined due to the trend for lower priced models and the yen’s appreciation.
Pioneer reported a double-digit drop in net sales and a net loss of $408.4 million in its fiscal second quarter. Net sales were $1.2 billion, down 35 percent year on year and a net loss that was slightly higher than the prior year’s fiscal second quarter. Pioneer blamed a decline in sales of car electronics products which largely reflected weak economic conditions and the impact of the yen’s appreciation, as well as its planned phase out of its plasma display business by the end of its fiscal year.
In car electronics sales dropped 29.5 percent year on year to $670.3 million. The operating loss was $59 million. In home electronics sales were down 45.7 percent year on year to $377.5 million, largely due to its decision to drop out of the plasma TV business. Operating loss for the quarter for this segment was $90.6 million.
Mitsubishi reported a 19 percent decrease in sales corporately during its fiscal second quarter, to 1.02 trillion yen, as well as a net loss of 17.6 billion yen, compared with net income of 24.2 billion yen in the prior year.
During the quarter, its home appliance business sales slipped 17 percent to 220.4 billion yen and had a 600 million yen operating loss, a decline of 20.5 billion yen from the prior year. Sales of HDTVs and air conditioners, among other products, slumped during the quarter due to the economy among other reasons.
Hitachi reported a 19 percent drop in corporate revenues and a net loss for its second quarter, ended Sept. 30. Hitachi’s revenues were $24.8 billion, down 19 percent compared with last year, and its net loss was $535 million, or 48 billion yen, a decrease into a loss of 48 billion yen.
In its digital media and consumer products operation, revenues dropped 23 percent to $3.09 billion year over year. Operating income for the quarter was $48 million, or 4.2 billion yen, a 17 billion yen improvement from last year. There was a narrower loss in the flat-panel TV business resulting from the switch to procuring plasma panels from outside the company, reducing overseas sales and other actions, the company said.
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