Quarter Kind To Koreans, Tough On Japanese Cos.

By Steve Smith and Greg Tarr On Aug 3 2009 - 6:00am

Six top overseas CE manufacturers revealed their quarterly reports, with two Korean suppliers reporting higher sales and earnings and four Japanese suppliers going in the other direction.

Reporting last Thursday, Sony posted a double-digit drop in sales and loss in its fiscal first quarter, ended June 30, blaming part of the problems on currency exchanges and heavy price promotions.

Sony said company sales were down 19.2 percent to $16.7 billion. It also reported a $386 million loss, compared with a close to $370 million profit for last year's first quarter.

In its consumer products and devices segment, sales were down 27.3 percent to $8.06 billion, and the segment reported an operating loss of $20 million, compared with an operating profit of $381.3 million during the same time last year.

In the networked products and services segment, which PlayStation game systems and Vaio computers are part of, sales were $2.57 billion, down 37.4 percent in yen, and it had an operating loss of $414 million, compared with a nominal profit in the prior year's first quarter.

Sharp Electronics, also released its quarterly financials last Thursday, reporting a loss and a 20 percent drop in sales in its fiscal first quarter, ended June 30.

Sharp posted sales of $6.32 billion, down 20 percent from the prior year's first quarter, and a net loss of $266.2 million, compared with net income of $262.9 million for the same period last year.

Sales of A/V and communications were $3.2 billion, down 11.9 percent, with sales declining for LCD TVs and mobile phones. Blu-ray Disc players and recorders did well, the company reported.

Sales of its information products were down 14 percent to $6.6 billion.

In components, sales of LCDs were down 42 percent to $978.1 billion compared with the same time last year.

At the same time both Sharp and Sony announced a joint venture with Sony to produce and sell large-sized LCDs and modules called the Sharp Display Products Corporation (SDP).

On July 1, Sharp split out its new LCD panel plant located in Sakai City, Japan, which is under construction, and transferred it to SDP, which is scheduled to begin operations in October. Sharp will own 66 percent and 34 percent will be Sony's.

Sharp estimates eventual production at 72,000 substrates per month (initially 36,000 substrates per month).

LG Electronics reported record net profits and sales due to growth in cellphones and flat-screen TVs during the second quarter.

On a global basis sales rose 13.8 percent to $11.2 billion and net profit rose 62 percent to $919 million compared with the prior year.

The home entertainment company saw sales rising by 19.3 percent to $3.5 billion, returning a profit of $174 million for a margin of 5.0 percent, 4.7 percent higher than the previous year, as a result of robust flat-panel TV sales — especially LCD TVs, LG said.

Year-on-year shipments increased 45 percent 4.28 million units. The company expects its flat-panel TV shipments in the third quarter to be even higher as demand for premium models.

The mobile communications company reported $3.98 billion in sales, 25.8 percent higher than the previous year, and operating profit of $422 million. Handset sales accounted for $3.8 billion, up 29.9 percent year on year, and operating profit reached $417 million for a margin of 11 percent.

The home appliance company reported an increase of 9.8 percent to $1.812 billion year on year. The currency impact resulted in sales declining 14 percent in U.S. dollars but growing 10 percent in Korean won.

The air conditioning company saw sales rise 1.8 percent to $1.3 billion year-on-year, with sales falling in U.S. dollar but increasing in Korean won.

Samsung said it was bolstered by strong shipments of memory chips, flat-panel displays and televisions in the second quarter for a net profit increase.

For the three months ending June 30, Samsung saw a net profit of $1.8 billion (2.25 trillion won), compared with 2.14 trillion won a year earlier and 619 billion won in the prior quarter.

Sales rose 11.7 percent to $26.09 billion (32.51 trillion won), from 29.1 trillion won a year earlier, while consolidated operating profit rose to $2.02 billion (2.52 trillion won), from 2.4 trillion won a year earlier.

Samsung also saw an improved net profit of $497 million (619 billion won).

Toshiba reported companywide lower sales and a deeper net loss in its fiscal first quarter due to restructuring costs, its chip business and lower CE sales.

In Toshiba's digital products operation, where its CE products reside, sales were down 24 percent to $5.1 billion during the quarter compared with the prior year. But the group had an operating profit of $50.6 million, about $88.6 million lower than the prior year's first quarter.

Hitachi reported that its digital media and consumer products business posted a loss and had a 28 percent sales drop compared with the fiscal first quarter of last year.

The operating loss was $140 million for the quarter, ended June 30, with sales dropping to $2.5 billion.

The $140 million operating loss was slightly better than the prior year's first quarter despite lower sales and prices. This was due to the switch to buying plasma panels from outside the Hitachi Group, reducing overseas sales channels and other actions, the company said.

Company-wide results for the quarter showed a 26 percent drop in sales to $19.7 billion, with a net loss of $945 million due to the ongoing recession.

Reuters reported that Hitachi plans to spend $2.9 billion to buy out five listed subsidiaries to pool its resources to turn a profit. One of the units is Hitachi Maxell, known as the Maxell blank media and accessories brand in the U.S.

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