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Hitachi CE Segment Sales Jump 13%

Tokyo — Growth in sales of plasma televisions and optical disk drives drove up sales in the digital media and consumer products segment at Hitachi by 13 percent in the company’s fiscal first quarter.

The segment, which primarily includes consumer electronics and home appliances, reported first-quarter sales of $3.1 billion, up from $2.7 billion in the year-ago period.

Gains in optical disk drives and LCD projectors, among other products, led to an operating earnings turnaround in the first quarter, ended June 30, for the digital media and consumer products segment. Hitachi registered $48 million in operating income for the first three months, compared with an operating loss of $4.1 million in the same three months in 2003.

Overseas sales for the CE digital media and consumer products business increased 6 percent in the first quarter, coming in at $1.15 billion, up from $1.09 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.

Overall revenue in the North American market moved up 3 percent to $2 billion from $1.9 billion.

Growth in digital media products, along with strong sales of liquid-crystal displays and hard disk drives, bolstered first-quarter consolidated revenue at Hitachi and helped the company move into the black.

Consolidated sales for the three months increased to $19.1 billion, up from $17 billion, while the company reported consolidated operating income of $349 million, compared with a year-ago operating loss of $302.1 million. Net income for the first three months reached $149 million, compared with a net loss of $343.9 million year-over-year.