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Several major Japanese CE manufacturers had a decidedly mixed fiscal first quarter, which ended for all of them on June 30.
While all were affected by higher oil and raw material prices, the yen's appreciation against the U.S. dollar and the overall world economic malaise hurt some more than others based on their product mix and competitiveness.
Toshiba's digital products were a bright spot during its fiscal first quarter, where it posted a corporate net loss and lower net sales.
Corporately, economic conditions hurt Toshiba. In its first quarter, net sales were $15.3 billion, down 3 percent compared with the previous year's first quarter, while the company posted a net loss of $109.5 million compared with net income of $194.3 million in the prior year. (The U.S. dollar was valued at 106 yen in Toshiba's statement.)
But in its digital products segment, despite its withdrawal from the HD DVD format, solid sales in TV and hard disk drives gave it a 15.5 percent increase in operating income, to $124.5 million.
Sales for the segment were down 3 percent, to $6.08 billion. While mobile phones posted lower sales, Toshiba's PC and digital media network businesses, along with the aforementioned TV and hard-disk-drive products, enabled the division to post an operating profit.
Mitsubishi Electric reported higher sales and operating income for its home appliances division during its fiscal first quarter.
The division, which includes consumer electronics and home appliances, had sales of $2.35 billion, a 7 percent gain in the quarter vs. the same quarter last year.
Operating income for the division during the quarter was $207.8 million, a $35.3 million gain compared with the previous year's first quarter.
Appliance sales domestically and worldwide helped increase the division's sales, along with digital A/V product and solar-power-generation systems, the company reported.
Corporately, Mitsubishi's net sales were $8.15 billion, up 1 percent from the same quarter last year, while net income was $512.1 million, a 19 percent increase from the prior year's fiscal first quarter.
Victor Company of Japan, marketer of the JVC brand in the United States, reported reduced operating and net income for its first quarter.
JVC's operating loss was $12 million, compared with a loss of $46.4 million in its fiscal first quarter last year. The net loss was reduced almost by half vs. the previous year's first quarter to $64 million.
Total sales for the company were down in the quarter by 17 percent to $1.23 billion. But in its prepared statement, JVC said its "key point" in the report is that operating income improved in every business segment compared with the same period last year.
Consumer electronics, which represents 76 percent of total company sales, had operating income that "returned to the black due to the effect of structural reforms" even though sales were down 15.8 percent year-on-year to $928.5 million.
JVC reported that sales of LCD TVs and camcorders were good in the Americas on a local currency basis, and that work continues on the "management integration" with Kenwood that was announced in April and will be implemented by Oct. 1.
Beginning in the third quarter of this fiscal year, the joint holding company will announce the financial results.
Neither Sharp or Pioneer, which the former made an investment in the latter during 2007, made any mention of each other or possible product introductions in their financial reports.
Pioneer posted lower sales and a net loss in its first quarter due to lower sales of car audio, DVD drives and plasma TVs.
Operating revenue fell 11.9 percent to $1.51 billion while Pioneer reported a net loss of $73.1 million for the quarter compared with net income of $100.3 million for the same time last year. Last year's first quarter income reflected a gain on a sale of its Tokorozawa plant and some facilities at the Omori Plant.
Car Electronics operating revenue fell 9.2 percent year on year to $831.1 million and operating income fell 77.6 percent to $16.1 million.
Home Electronics operating revenue fell 17.4 percent year on year to $541 million due to lower plasma display sales, as well as lower sales of DVD drives and DVD recorders. The segment had an operating loss of $69.8 million, a larger loss than last year due its plasma display business and a decrease in gross profit margin.
Sharp Electronics reported a 6 percent drop in corporate sales during the fiscal first quarter to $6.92 billion. However profits rose 2.8 percent to $230.4 million year-to-year.
Sharp blamed general economic conditions worldwide for lower sales – higher energy and raw material costs as well as the U.S. economic slowdown.
The performance of Sharp in key product categories also provides a mixed picture. In Audio-Visual and Communications Equipment sales were down 17.8 percent to $3.1 billion. Operating profits in the segment were down a dramatic 64.2 percent to $42.2 million.
In Health and Environmental Equipment, which includes major appliances, had a 10.2 percent drop in sales to $534.9 million, while operating income was up 56.7 percent to $4.2 million compared with the same quarter last year.
Hitachi reported 7 percent lower sales in its Digital Media & Consumer Products segment for its fiscal first quarter. The segment had $3.165 million in sales. The segment did reduce its operating loss by a third, posting a loss for the quarter of $131 million compared with last year's first quarter.
Corporately Hitachi reported a 3 percent revenue gain for the quarter reporting sales of $23.9 billion and net income of $298 million compared with a loss of $128.5 million during last year's first quarter.
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.