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Hitachi CE Biz Off 5%, Records Operating Loss

Tokyo — Fiscal first-half revenue in the digital media and consumer products business at Hitachi declined 5 percent to $5.3 billion, from $5.6 billion year-on-year, due mainly to lower sales of flat-panel televisions, including plasma TVs and home appliances.

The digital media and consumer products segment, primarily CE, recorded an operating loss of $140.3 million in the first half, ended Sept. 30, compared with operating revenue of $91.8 million in the year-ago period, reflecting, in part, falling selling prices for flat-panel TVs and home appliances.

In the first six months, Hitachi’s electronic devices business saw revenue slide 16 percent to $5 billion from a year-on-year $6 billion, due to lackluster sales of LCDs in its display business, owing to stiffer competition, said the company.

Operating income for the first half in the electronic devices business at Hitachi decreased 69 percent, down to $79.8 million from a year-ago $259.9 million, due mainly to the loss registered by LCDs in its display business, said the company.

Revenue in North America increased 3 percent in the first half, coming in at $3.9 billion, up from a year-earlier $3.8 billion.

Consolidated Hitachi sales in the first six months rose 2 percent, hitting $38.2 billion, from $37.4 billion in the same time frame last year, against the backdrop of slowing economic growth in the United States, due mainly to the spiraling prices of crude and gasoline, said the company.

Consolidated operating income took it on the chin in the first half, spiraling downward 39 percent to $672.3 million, compared with $1.1 billion in the same period the prior year, due, in part to lower earnings in electronic devices and an operating loss in digital media. The company remains hobbled by its struggling plasma and LCD operations, which suffered steep price declines.

As a result, Hitachi posted a consolidated net loss of $94.6 million in the first half, compared with net income of $355.9 million in the same period year-on-year.