By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York— Pre-recorded optical disc producer Sony Disc Manufacturing plans to more than double its current DVD production capacity in the United States by this September. Sony is adding 32 new DVD replication lines and associated mastering and packaging equipment. The expansion will increase the company's U.S. production capacity from 12.6 million DVDs per month to over 30 million.
Paris— Thomson Multimedia and Matsushita Electric Industrial have signed a non-binding agreement, whereby Technicolor, a Thomson business located in Camarillo, Calif., will acquire Panasonic Disc Services, which is a Matsushita unit specializing in DVD and CD replication and distribution operations in the United States. The deal will provide Thomson a broader spectrum of DVD-Video, DVD-Audio and DVD-ROM replication, packaging and distribution capabilities in the United States.
Benton Harbor, Mich.— Based on improved conditions in January and February in the U.S. major appliance business, Whirlpool expects to exceed the current range of analyst's estimates for first-quarter core earnings, increasing by 15 percent to 20 percent. Whirlpool also has increased its full-year U.S. industry unit shipment forecast to 2 percent growth. It continues to forecast a 5 percent to 10 percent improvement in full-year core earnings, but may revise this if industry conditions continue to strengthen.
New York— Maytag expects its 2002 sales to increase 12 percent to 15 percent, said Ralph E. Hake, chairman/CEO, who spoke at an analyst meeting here late in February. Hake said the level of sales growth, coupled with benefits from cost reduction initiatives, will improve the major appliance maker's bottom line, with earning per share increasing about 20 percent. Hake, who said Maytag's orders and sales have been strong the first two months of 2002, anticipates sales growth this year will come from the addition of Amana products as well as increased sales of other majaps and Hoover floor-care items.
New York — Zinc-air fuel company Electric Fuel has signed a co-branding agreement with U.S. carrier AT&T Wireless, to sell its Instant Power chargers and replacement cartridges for Nokia cellphones in over 500 of AT&T Wireless retail stores nationwide. The co-branded products will be sold in standard-sized clear plastic clamshell packaging with the logos of the wireless carrier and Electric Fuel's Instant Power line. Products were expected to be available at the end of February.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.