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Funai Gets Boost From Blu-ray, Converter Boxes

Tokyo– Sales of new products such as U.S. TV converter boxes and Blu-ray Disc players boosted Funai Electric’s operating income 108.8 percent to compensate for a 7.5 percent year-on-year decline in sales of mainstay products, the company reported in its consolidated financial results for the first half (April to September) of fiscal 2008.

According to a report from the Nikkei news service, Funai said mainstay product sales declined to about $1.49 billion while operating income surged 108.8 percent year on year to $44.6 million with the help of revenue from set-top boxes and Blu-ray Disc players in the United States.

The new device categories made up for decreased sales of Funai staples including CRT TVs and DVD players, according to Nikkei.

The report said Funai directors acknowledged that sales of TV converter boxes in the U.S. will have only a limited lifespan, following the completion of the U.S. analog TV shut-off in February, but the company expects that to be compensated for next year with increased sales of Blu-ray players and Philips branded LCD TVs in the U.S.

Funai took over sales and marketing of Philips TV products in North America in August following its licensing agreement with Royal Philips Electronics NV of the Netherlands.

In the fiscal first half, Funai said its TV-related sales dropped from $682 million to $586 million from the previous year, while LCD TV sales increased from $464 million to $513 million, and CRT TV sales shrank from $145 million to $59 million. Sales of the other TV-related products declined from $73 million to $14.4 million due to the company’s withdrawal from the projector market, Nikkei reported.

DVD player sales fell from the previous year’s $189 million to $128 million, and video recorder sales dropped from $25.6 million to $11.3 million. DVD recorder sales nudged up from $113.5 million a year ago to $118.5 million.

The company said sales of new products including Blu-ray Disc players and step-top converter boxes for the United States accounted for $78.4 million and $146.6 million, respectively.

Information equipment sales significantly decreased year on year from $466.7 million to $286 million. Funai said OEM orders for printers decreased while OEM orders for digital cameras recovered.