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A/V Sales Up 3% For Matsushita In Fiscal 2001

TOKYO — Boosted by a fiscal 2001 combination of a 3 percent sales increase for audio and video equipment and growth of televisions and DVD players in overseas markets, Matsushita Electric Industrial reported that sales in its consumer products segment increased 2 percent to $24.6 billion, compared with fiscal 2000.

Operating profit for consumer products in the fiscal year ended March 31 climbed 19 percent to $325 million, compared with the previous year.

Breaking out video and audio equipment from the consumer products segment, sales climbed 3 percent in the fiscal year, compared with the previous 12 months, reaching $14 billion. Of this total, $8.9 billion in video and audio equipment was sold overseas, a 1 percent increase over the previous year.

Matsushita’s overall sales to the Americas climbed 6 percent to $9.4 billion in the past fiscal year, compared with the previous 12 months. Operating profit in the Americas dropped 25 percent to $92 million for the year, compared to the year-ago 12 months.

Overall, Matsushita’s consolidated sales rose 5 percent in fiscal 2001, to $61.4 billion. As part of this overall sales increase, the company said sales of consumer products showed a moderate recovery, helped by expansion of digital A/V products. Net income, however, was off 58 percent in fiscal 2001, decreasing to $332 million, compared with the previous 12 months.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2002, Matsushita is forecasting setbacks in first-half operating results, mainly attributable to the negative effects of the U.S. economic slowdown. The company expects fiscal 2002 consolidated sales to decrease about 2 percent.