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Matsushita CE Segment Sales Rise 3%

Tokyo – Strong sales in such digital A/V products as flat-panel televisions and DVD recorders helped the AVC networks segment at Matsushita Electric Industrial jump 3 percent in first fiscal-half sales, to $16.5 billion, from $16.3 billion.

AVC networks segment sales of VCRs, CRT televisions and audio equipment declined in the first half, ended Sept. 30. The segment includes CE and telecommunications products.

CE segment operating profit for the first six months jumped 23 percent, hitting $525 million, up from $241.5 million in the same period a year ago.

However, Matsushita sales to the Americas decreased 9 percent in the first half, down to $5.9 billion, from $6.6 billion in the same period last year. Operating profit in the Americas segment also declined in the first six months, down 13 percent, to $93 million, from $108.7 million in the same period in 2002.

The solid results in Matsushita’s mainline A/V and communications products negated weaker sales in the company’s appliances and devices segments, leading to a consolidated second quarter jump of 3 percent in sales and a 45 percent rise in consolidated net income.

Overall three months sales hit $16.9 billion, compared with $16.7 billion year on year, while net income climbed to $184 million, from $130.2 million in the year-ago period. Operating income increased 74 percent in the quarter, to $537 million, from $316.1 million.

In the first half, Matsushita consolidated sales edged up 1 percent, reaching $32.79 billion, from $32.75 billion, while net income increased 32 percent, to $209 million, from $162.2 million. Operating profit for the first half hit $717 million, a 59 percent climb over the $460.8 million recorded a year earlier.

With Matsushita noting that the economic climate in the United States is showing signs of improvement, namely ‘moderate recovery,’ the company maintained an earlier forecast for 12-month sales of $68.7 billion, or about a 1 percent increase.

Consolidated income for the year, ended next March, was expected to move into the black, reaching $276.5 million, up from a loss of $175.1 million the previous fiscal year. Operating income for the 12 months was anticipated at $1.4 billion, an 18 percent rise over the previous year.