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Kenwood Reports Growth For U.S., Parent Off $170M

FORT LEE, N.J. — Although Kenwood posted growth in U.S. sales of car audio, home theater solutions and receivers priced at $1,000+ during the fiscal year ending March 31, the company’s Japanese parent hasn’t done so well.

The parent expects to announce an approximate fiscal year $170 million loss on worldwide revenues of about $2.7 billion, sales & marketing VP Bob Law said. The parent attributed the loss mainly to a worldwide restructuring but also to weak sales in Japan, falling profits in Europe due to the weakened Euro and one-time write-offs resulting from accounting changes that the Japanese government is requiring of all corporations, Law said.

As part of the restructuring, Kenwood sold off its wireless-phone manufacturing business in Europe to Sharp and closed San Jose-based Kenwood Technologies, which sold CD-ROM drives and PC speakers.

Kenwood is also stepping up efforts to contract out manufacturing of commodity products and recently forged an agreement with a Thomson-owned Chinese factory to make entry-level DVD players.

Kenwood has also been increasing its OEM car audio activity worldwide and in March began offering its first OEM autosound system for the U.S. market: a port-installed system that’s standard on the Mazda MP3, a special-edition compact car. “We will be making a couple more OEM announcements over the next few months for the 2002 model year,” Law said.