Iwaki, Japan - Alpine returned to the black in its 2011 fiscal year, posting better-than-forecast sales and profits for the 12 months ending March 31.
For its 2012 fiscal year, the OEM and aftermarket car electronics supplier forecasts a single-digit sales decline and double-digit declines in operating and net profits, but the company will remain in the black.
Alpine attributed its 2012 outlook largely to a shrinking Japan economy, the earthquake's severing of supply lines, and the government's expected imposition of energy-savings measures in the summer, hurting production in factories supplying the domestic market, Alpine said.
For the fiscal year that just ended, however, Alpine posted a 19.4 percent gain in consolidated net sales to 201.2 billion yen ($2.47 billion), thanks in part to stepped-up sales efforts in China and increases in new-vehicle sales outside the Japan market. Operating income rose 486 percent from the previous year's 226 million yen to 11.2 billion yen ($137.7 million). And the company posted net income of 6.03 billion yen ($74.2 million) compared to a year-ago net loss of 1.25 billion yen ($15.4 million), which had been caused by such extraordinary losses as restructuring, product-warranty expenses, and investment losses.
Net income in 2011 would have been slightly higher than the posted 6.03 billion yen ($74.2 million) had it not been for an extraordinary loss of 1.6 billion yen ($19.7 million) caused by the earthquake, Alpine said. The earthquake damaged the company's headquarters, other buildings and production equipment, though no lives were lost. Production resumed March 28.
For 2012, Alpine forecasts a 5.6 percent decline in net sales, a 55.2 percent drop in operating income, and a 42 percent drop in net income.
In the current year, sales of car audio products (OEM and aftermarket combined) slipped 0.8 percent to 69.9 million yen, while sales of car information and communications equipment (including navigation) rose 33.9 percent to 131.4 million yen.
In audio, sales of OEM products to car makers increased in line with recovering production in the U.S. and Europe and because of "robust demand" in China, the company said. However, in the North American aftermarket, as a result of "users' greater appetite for low prices," sales of high-added-value products, including head units that control a smartphone's Pandora Radio app, "experienced harsh selling conditions," the company said.
Sales of the company's affordably priced navigation systems newly launched in the North American aftermarket were "strong" despite "being affected by increasingly severe price competition," Alpine added.