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Matsushita CE Segment Sales Rise 5% For Year

Osaka, Japan — Strong sales in flat-panel TVs, digital cameras and other digital A/V equipment were more than sufficient to offset sluggish sales in VCRs and audio equipment, helping the video and audio equipment business in the AVC Networks segment at Matsushita Electric Industrial increase fiscal 12-month sales by 5 percent, climbing to $13.9 billion from a year-ago $13.4 billion.

Sales in the information and communications equipment business in the AVC Networks segment decreased 6 percent during the year, down to $19.4 billion from a year-earlier $20.8 billion. Although increased sales were recorded for PCs and automotive electronics, sales declines in cellular phones for overseas markets helped push down the total.

Matsushita’s overall AVC Networks segment sales in the 12 months, which combines consumer electronics and information and communications products, edged downward 2 percent for the 12 months, reaching $33.3 billion, compared with $34.2 billion in the year-ago period.

Segment profit for AVC Networks was basically flat for the year, coming in at $1.19 billion, down from $1.22 billion.

Matsushita sales in the Americas slipped 2 percent in the 12 months, sliding to $11.9 billion from a year-earlier $12.3 billion. Profit for the Americas business moved downward 10 percent to $194 million, from $220.1 million in the same period last year.

Overseas sales of video and audio equipment increased 1 percent during the year, up to $9.6 billion, while overseas sales of information and communications equipment dropped 9 percent in the same period, to $19.3 billion. Overseas sales for Matsushita’s combined AVC Networks segment slipped 4 percent in the year, down to $19.3 billion.

Sales gains in digital A/V equipment and home appliances boosted consolidated year-on-year sales by 16 percent at Matsushita, hitting $81.4 billion, up from $70.7 billion in the previous 12 months.

Negative factors such as a strong yen, increased raw materials costs and intensified global price competition were more than offset by sales gains, cost-reduction efforts and other positive factors during the 12 months, helping to push Matsushita consolidated operating profit up 58 percent, hitting $2.9 billion, compared with a year-ago $1.8 billion.

Consolidated net income jumped 39 percent to $547 million, from $398.2 million in the 12 months.

Matsushita did not break out financial figures for the fiscal fourth quarter.