Tokyo - Rising fiscal first quarter sales of plasma TVs and mobile phones did not offset an overall 3 percent decline in Hitachi's digital media and consumer products segment, which saw sales decrease to $2.47 billion, from $2.52 billion in the year-ago period.
The digital media and consumer products segment, which includes consumer electronics, moved into the red in the three months, ended June 30, with Hitachi reporting a $4 million operating loss for its CE business, compared with $54.6 million in operating income recorded in the first quarter a year earlier. The negative numbers were due mainly to the effect of lower sales prices in certain product areas that exceeded the benefits of cost cutting because of deflation.
At Hitachi Maxell, optical media sales 'remained healthy,' said the company.
North American sales overall declined 2 percent in the first quarter, said Hitachi, down to $1.78 billion, from $1.81 billion in the same three months in 2002. Overseas sales for the digital media and consumer products segment also dipped 2 percent in the first quarter, coming in at $1.01 billion, compared with $1.03 billion year-on-year.
LCD sales remained flat in the first quarter, at $390.9 million, while small- and medium-size LCD sales jumped 91 percent, to $174.6 million in the period, up from $91.5 million in the first quarter a year ago. Large-size LCD sales declined 28 percent in the first quarter, down to $216.2 million, from $299.4 million in the same three months last year.
Consolidated Hitachi sales for the first quarter edged upward 2 percent, to $15.8 billion, compared with $15.5 billion year over year.
However, the company moved into the red during the three months, posting an operating loss of $281 million, compared with operating income of $113.9 million in the same quarter in 2002.
The net loss of $320 million for the first quarter was wider than the $96.5 million net loss incurred in the year-ago three months.
Looking ahead, Hitachi anticipates a 2 percent year over year increase in net sales for the fiscal first six months, to $33.3 billion. It expects operating income to decline 76 percent year-on-year, to $125 million for the six months, and a net loss of $250 million for the period.