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Matsushita CE Segment Sales Up 3% In Fis. Year

Osaka, Japan — Lead by strong sales of flat-panel televisions and DVD recorders — which more than offset declines of CRT televisions, VCRs and audio equipment — sales in the AVC Networks segment at Matsushita Electric Industrial climbed 3 percent for the fiscal year. AVC Networks, primarily consumer electronics, hit $34.8 billion, up from $32.1 billion in the previous year.

Within the AVC Networks segment, sales of video and audio equipment increased 1 percent over a year ago, reaching $13.6 billion, up from $12.8 billion year-on-year. Sales of information and communications equipment, boosted by strong movement of automotive electronics and cellular phones, increased 4 percent for the 12 months to $21.2 billion from a year-ago $19.3 billion.

Operating profit in the AVC Networks CE segment soared 56 percent, climbing to $1.2 billion for the year, ended March 31, from $756.9 million a year earlier.

Overseas sales of A/V equipment edged upward 2 percent in the 12 months, rising to $9.2 billion, while the automotive/cellphone category enjoyed a 4 percent increase in overseas sales to $10.3 billion.

However, CE segment sales to the Americas dropped 9 percent in the year, down to $12.5 billion from $12.7 billion year-on-year. Operating profit for goods sold in the Americas during the year increased 4 percent to $224 million from $205.7 million.

Overall overseas sales rose 1 percent for the year to $38.4 billion. Excluding the effects of currency translation, overseas sales increased 4 percent from a year earlier.

Strong sales of digital A/V products and cellular phones were singled out by Matsushita as being a primary reason the company recorded a consolidated sales gain of 1 percent for the 12 months, reaching nearly $72 billion.

Consolidated operating profit jumped 54 percent in the 12 months to $1.9 billion from $1.2 billion, mainly because of sales increases in such categories as digital CE products and costs reductions, and despite the negative effects of a strong yen and intense global competition.

Matsushita moved into the black for the 12 months, recording a consolidated net income of $405 million, compared with a net loss of $177.8 million in the year-ago period.

Looking ahead, Matsushita expects to increase overall sales in the current fiscal year, ending in March of 2005, by about 18 percent to $80.4 billion. Operating profit is anticipated at about $2.6 billion for the current 12 months, a 43 percent rise, while net income should come in at about $575.9 million, a 49 percent increase from the past 12 months.