Matsushita Posts Lower Sales, Net

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Matsushita Industrial of Japan cited a soft home market and a strong yen appreciation that reduced the translated value of its overseas sales and earnings in reporting lower sales and operating profits for its fiscal second-quarter and first-half periods.

For the three months to September 30 the marketer of electronics and appliances under the Panasonic, Technics and Quasar brands posted a net of $229 million, against a year-earlier loss of $15 million. That result included a $435 million write-down of the value of investment securities.

Sales, at $17.2 billion, were off 9%. For the half, net jumped 258% to $318 million, while sales declined 8% to $33.6 billion.

Excluding special charges, interest expense and taxes, Matsushita's operating profit sank 30% for the quarter to $475 million. Profit was also down 38% for the half to $609 million. For those same respective periods, sales in Japan dropped 4% to $8.44 billion and 3% to $16.4 billion, while revenue from overseas fell 13% to $8.74 billion and was off 12% to $17.7 billion.

Sales for the half, by sector, show consumer products declined 11% to $13.9 billion, with A/V products off 13% to $7.86 billion and appliances down 9% to $6.05 billion. Industrial product sales of $12.6 billion were off 7%, and sales of components were down 1% to $7.04 billion.

Looking at the second half, Matsushita said it expects full fiscal-1999 earnings of nearly $890 million, which excluded special tax items, would be up 43%. Sales are expected to come in at about $68 billion, off 4%.


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