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Asian CE Makers Post Gains In Fourth Quarter

Major CE manufacturers reported either revenue gains or profits in the final quarter of 2009, based on gains in demand, cost-cutting measures or both.

Sony reported higher sales and a profit increase in its fiscal third quarter, ended Dec. 31, due to cost-cutting measures and improved performances in its CE and networked products businesses.

In its third quarter, sales in yen were up 3.9 percent to $24.3 billion when converted to dollars. Operating income for the quarter was $1.6 billion, or 146.1 billion yen, compared with a loss of 18 billion yen for the prior year’s quarter.

Net income attributable to Sony stockholders was $861 billion, or 79.2 billion yen for the quarter, up from the prior year’s 10.37 billion yen.

Products contributing to the increase in operating profits include Sony’s Bravia LCD TVs, reflecting the benefits of cost-reduction moves and Cyber-shot compact digital cameras, the company said. Operating profits were hurt, excluding restructuring charges, but including system LSIs for the game business and Handycam video cameras.

In its consumer products and devices segment, sales and operating revenue for the fiscal third quarter were $10.5 billion, down 10.7 percent in yen from the previous year, Sony said. But the segment reported an operating profit of 49.4 billion yen (or $537 million), compared with an operating loss of 19.8 million yen n the prior year.

In its networked products and services segment, sales were up 1.9 percent in yen to 606.1 billion yen, or $6.6 billion, compared with the prior year’s 594.9 billion yen. The segment reported a 19.4 billion yen operating profit, or $211 million, for the quarter, compared with the prior year’s 5.9 billion yen loss for the quarter. Sony said that higher Vaio PC sales helped the segment’s bottom line. In the game business, profitability was relatively unchanged due to an improvement in the cost of PS3 hardware.

Samsung Electronics reported higher sales but lower net income for the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2009.

Sales were 25.32 trillion won, up 2 percent from the third quarter, while net income was 3.05 trillion won, down 18 percent from the prior quarter.

In Samsung’s digital media business, flat-panel TV shipments were 10.9 million units, up 41 percent from the third quarter and up 41 percent when compared with the prior year. In appliances, revenue was driven by strong sales in refrigerators and drum washing machine sales, which continued to increase in the U.S.

In its telecommunications business, shipments for handsets were up 14 percent to 68.8 million units compared with the third quarter and up 31 percent year on year.

Sharp Electronics reported a profit and flat sales during its fiscal third quarter, which ended Dec. 31. Sales were relatively flat at 735.3 billion yen while operating income was 21 billion yen, up from the prior year’s quarterly loss of 15.8 billion yen. Net income was 9.1 billion yen for the current fiscal third quarter.

While Sharp benefitted from company-wide cost cutting during the quarter, it reported that its consumer/information products segment, which includes LCD TVs and other CE products, had sales of 514.1 billion yen, up from the prior year’s 503.8 billion yen.

Operating income for the segment was 14 billion yen, up compared with an 18.5 billion yen loss in the prior year’s Q3.

LCD color TV sales were down 199.9 billion yen from the prior year’s 204.9 billion yen. But in units, sales were 3.04 million, up from 2.89 million units. last year.

Toshiba reported higher net sales and reported an operating profit in its fiscal third quarter that ended Dec. 31. The company also reported that its Digital Products business segment had higher sales and was also profitable in the quarter.

Consolidated net sales for the company were $17.2 billion, or 1.6 trillion yen, which is an increase of 90.1 billion yen from the prior year’s quarter. Consolidated operating income was $111.1 million, or 10.2 billion yen, a gain of 167.9 billion yen from the prior year’s fiscal third quarter.

In its digital products segment, its positive performance was due to A/V products, most notably TVs and the acquisition of Fujitsu’s Hard Disk Drive business. Net sales were 653.9 billion yen, up 13 percent compared with the previous year. Operating income was 2.7 billion yen, an improvement of 30 billion yen from the prior year.

Hitachi reported higher operating profits in its CE operation for its fiscal third quarter, ended Dec. 31.

In its digital media and consumer products segment, revenue was down 15 percent to $2.85 billion but operating income was $46 million, or 20.3 billion yen, up from the prior year’s 4.1 billion yen.

Hitachi said the segment continue to have strong sales in optical-disk-drive-related products but overall segment sales reflected the impact of the large reduction of overseas sales channels for flat-panel TVs as part of business structural reforms designed to lower operation risk.

And Dolby Laboratories reported higher revenue for its fiscal first quarter.

For the first quarter, Dolby reported total revenue of $221.2 million, compared with $180.3 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2009, an increase of 23 percent.

First-quarter GAAP net income was $69.1 million.