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Japanese CE Suppliers Post Improved Financials

TOKYO – Japanese CE manufacturers reported improved sales and profitability for either its third quarter or first nine months of its fiscal year, ended Dec. 31, 2013, due to a mixture of improved sales, cost cutting and better exchange rates.

Sony was among those posting better financials for the fiscal third quarter (see story, p. 33), even though it is selling the Vaio PC unit and planning to spin-off its TV operations.

Panasonic reported higher sales and profits in the fiscal third quarter.

Consolidated group sales in the quarter increased 10 percent to 1,973.5 billion compared with the same quarter last year. Overseas sales increased by 13 percent to 1,003.2 billion yen compared with the same quarter last year.

Operating profit increased to 116.6 billion yen from 34.6 billion yen a year ago due to “significant profit improvement of unprofitable businesses,” the company said. Net income attributable to Panasonic was also higher, 73.7 billion yen compared with 61.4 billion yen a year ago.

Panasonic said that in spite of economic slowdown in some emerging countries, the economy continued to expand in the U.S. and Japan, and it moderately recovered in Europe.

In Panasonic’s digital consumer products, sales decreased, but the company said it was “focusing on profitability rather than sales volume.”

For the nine months, Panasonic reported that sales in the AVC networks group decreased by 4 percent compared with a year ago, despite a steady rise in B to B sales. B to C decreased due to the company’s business restructuring and weak demand, Panasonic said.

The segment loss was better than the prior year, 6.4 billion yen for this year’s fiscal nine month period compared with the 24.1 billion yen loss last year, primarily due to a sales increase in B to B and business restructuring, especially in the TVs and panel businesses.

Pioneer Electronics reported a 20.8 percent gain in consolidated net sales in its fiscal third quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2013, due to the positive effect of the Japanese yen’s depreciation and increased sales of both OEM and consumer market.

The net loss in the quarter was 1,748 million yen, an improvement from a year-earlier net loss of 2,256 million yen, reflecting the improvement in operating income, the company said.

Car electronics sales grew 25.6 percent year on year. Car navigation system sales rose, from an increase in OEM sales primarily in Japan and Central and South America. Car audio product sales rose on increased OEM sales in Japan, China, and North America, and on growth in consumer-market sales, mainly in Central and South America and North America. OEM sales accounted for 54 percent of total car electronics sales, compared with 52 percent a year earlier.

The segment recorded a 4.5 times increase in operating income year on year, mostly the result of increased sales and despite an increase in SG&A expenses.

Home electronics sales grew 18.5 percent year on year, to 29,416 million. Although sales of optical disc drive-related products declined, increased sales of products including DJ equipment reflecting the positive effect of the Japanese yen’s depreciation, and cable-TV set-top boxes, resulted in an overall increase. By geographic region, sales in Japan grew 16.4 percent and overseas sales rose 19.3 percent.

Operating income of 436 million yen was recorded, compared with an operating loss of 1,673 million yen for the third quarter of fiscal 2013.

Sharp Electronics reversed losses and posted higher sales in its ninemonth results. Net sales were up 21 percent; net income was 17,720 million yen vs. a prior-year net loss of 424,347 million yen for the same period. Operating income was 81,472 million yen vs. a prior-year operating loss of 166,232 million yen.

Sharp said it experienced growth at home in Japan, as well as in the U.S. and China.

In its digital information equipment group, sales were up 2.1 percent for the nine months compared with last year as LCD TV sales grew in Japan, China and emerging countries but were sluggish in the Americas and Europe.

The group posted operating income for the period of 9,350 million yen, compared with a 15,861 million yen operating loss in the prior fiscal year’s first nine months.

Toshiba reported higher sales and a reduced loss in CE and related products during the company’s fiscal third quarter.

Net sales for the lifestyle products and services unit were up 9 percent to 356.8 billion yen while its operating loss was 4.7 percent, a 12.3 percent improvement.

Toshiba said that while its visual products business, which includes LCD TVs, saw a sales decrease due to a shift in focus to limited and clearly defined sales areas, PC sales were brisk in North America.

The loss for the unit was reduced because visual products business saw a considerable improvement and secured operating income due to the effects of restructuring, higher sales prices and a shift in focus to limited and clearly defined sales areas, Toshiba said.

Corporately Toshiba’s fiscal third-quarter net sales were up 192.5 billion yen to 1,549.6 billion yen ($14.8 billion), but net income was down 12.2 billion yen to 17.2 billion yen ($163.3 million).

Yamaha boosted fiscal third-quarter sales and operating income. In the third quarter consolidated sales rose by 13.9 billion yen ($136.1 million), all of it attributable to currency fluctuations, company reports show. Third-quarter consolidated operating income rose by 5.5 billion yen ($53.9 million), 4.5 billion yen of which was the result of currency fluctuations.

Also for the quarter, net sales of audio equipment, consisting mainly of home and pro audio but also including such equipment as routers and conferencing systems, rose by 3.7 billion yen ($35.2 million), thanks to a positive impact of 4.8 billion yen ($47 million) arising from currency fluctuations.

Third-quarter audio operating income rose by 500 million yen, thanks to a 1.2 billion yen gain attributable to currency fluctuations.