Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Economic Woes Seen In Japanese CE Financials

New York — Panasonic, Hitachi, Pioneer, Toshiba and Sharp all reported their fiscal second-quarter results last week, showing in varying in degrees how the ongoing economic woes are affecting each company.

Hitachi, Pioneer and Toshiba reported lower sales and net losses for the quarter, which ended Sept. 30. Panasonic had lower sales and a double-digit drop in net profits. Sharp issued a fiscal first-half report without separately breaking out its second-quarter results and showed a gain in sales but lower net income for the half.

All four companies cited ongoing worldwide financial woes for their performances, such as higher energy and raw material costs, the worldwide credit crunch and the higher value of the Japanese yen vs. the U.S. dollar.

Panasonic reported a 4 percent decrease in consolidated group sales for the quarter, to $23.5 billion, from the previous year’s $24.5 billion. Overseas sales decreased 4 percent to $12.1 billion, from $12.6 billion in the previous year.

Net income fell 16 percent to $594 million during the fiscal third quarter compared with $704.8 million in the previous year. Operating profit was down 19 percent to $1.27 billion in the quarter, down from $1.57 billion.

By category, Panasonic reported sales in its digital AVC networks unit for the quarter, mostly consumer electronics, were up 11 percent worldwide, but information and communications sales were down 10 percent compared with the same time last year, due in part to “sluggish sales of automotive electronics.”

Pioneer reported a 17.2 percent drop in consolidated operating revenue down to $1.59 billion main due to lower sales of plasma displays, DVD drives and car audio products.

The operating loss for Pioneer was $66.1 million, compared with an operating income of $9.03 million during last year’s second quarter, due to lower operating revenue and lower gross margins. Pioneer had restructuring expenses of $150.2 million due to an early-retirement program.

The net loss was $434.9 million compared with a net loss last year of $23 million, which Pioneer blamed mostly on the higher value of the Japanese yen.

By category, car electronics sales were down 7.7 percent to $822.6 million even though car navigation sales were up. Operating income decreased 82.2 percent to $10.3 million.

In home electronics, revenue dropped 30 percent to $601.8 million due to lower plasma display and DVD drive sales and its operating loss expanded by around a third to $66.9 million.

Pioneer reiterated it will use Panasonic plasma panels starting next summer for its plasma displays featuring its own proprietary technologies. And Pioneer will use its technologies to develop LCD TVs under its own brand from units made by investor Sharp Electronics.

At the same time Pioneer said its president/representative director Tamihiko Sudo has resigned, effective Nov. 15. He will be replaced by Susumu Kotani, currently managing director. Sudo will remain as director and will “support the new president,” Pioneer said in a statement.

Sharp reported a 12 percent increase in sales to $15.7 billion during its fiscal first half, ended Sept. 30. During the half, net income was down 6.9 percent to $416.4 million.

In its consumer/information products segment, Sharp said it worked to further expand LCD TV sales with premium models using full HD capabilities. Sales of A/V and communications equipment were $6.5 billion, down 13.6 percent vs. the same time last year.

While Blu-ray disc recorders, which are not sold in the U.S., had strong sales, mobile phones sales were down. LCD TV unit sales were up, but revenue was down due to lower prices compared with last year.

In its electronic components business, sales of LCDs were $3.5 billion, up 20.2 percent from the same time last year. Increased production capacity at its Kameyama No. 2 plant contributed to sales growth of large-size LCD panels for TVs.

Toshiba reported overall lower net sales and a net loss in the quarter but its CE-related segment reported a solid gain in operating income.

Toshiba’s consolidated sales were down 7 percent to $18.04 billion for the quarter while its net loss was $258.2 million, half of last year’s second-quarter loss.

But in Toshiba’s digital products operation, which includes TV hard disk drives and PCs among other CE-related products, it had lower sales but higher operating income. The division’s net sales were down 6 percent to $7.04 billion but operating income was $149.2 million, up 593 percent.

Hitachi reported a 1 percent drop in overall revenue to $26.6 billion, but a net loss of $167 million vs. the previous year’s second quarter. Hitachi had posted a $5.36 million net profit in last year’s third quarter. However operating income rose 23 percent to $1.14 billion during this year’s second quarter.

In its digital media and consumer products segment, revenues for the quarter compared with last year was down 2 percent to $3.46 billion. Its operating loss was $123 million, down from the previous year’s loss of $150 million.