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Matsushita Q1 CE/PC Sales Slide 3%

Osaka – The coupling of stagnated growth in the United States and a severe overall business environment that persisted through its fiscal first quarter, led to a 3 percent decline in AVC Networks segment sales at Matsushita Electric Industrial.

This category, which includes both video and audio equipment and information and communications equipment, posted $7 billion in sales for the three months, ended June 30, down from $7.2 billion in the year-ago period.

Within the AVC Networks category, sales of video and audio equipment, despite continued strong sales in flat-screen TVs and DVD recorders, decreased 8 percent in the first three months, due mainly to sales declines in CRT televisions and audio equipment. Sales hit $2.6 billion, down from $2.9 billion.

In the information and communications equipment group, within the AVC Networks category, brisk sales of automotive electronics and solid overseas sales of cellular phones were sufficient to offset setbacks in hard disk drives and facsimile machines, resulting in mostly unchanged sales in the first quarter. Sales reached $4.38 billion for the three months, virtually flat with the $4.36 billion recorded year-on-year.

Overseas sales of consumer electronics dropped 11 percent, to $1.8 billion in the first quarter, while overseas sales of computer equipment and mobile products increased 1 percent, to $2.3 billion.

Following a change in business segment classifications to five new segments earlier this year, in order to ensure consistency of financial disclosure, business segment information for the first quarter of 2002 was restated. In this case, first quarter 2003 sales for the AVC Networks segment were $7.3 billion, down 2 percent from the $7.5 billion reported in the same quarter in 2002.

AVC Networks restated segment profit, however, jumped 29 percent in the first three months, to $134 million, up from $104.2 million year over year.

Consolidated Matsushita sales in the first three months decreased 2 percent, hitting $14.7 billion, down from $15 billion in the year-ago period.

Consolidated operating profit for the maker of Panasonic-brand CE products, however, climbed 27 percent in the first quarter, reaching $167 million, compared with $131 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

Consolidated first quarter net profit dropped 22 percent, to $22 million, compared with $28.9 million in the same quarter in 2002.

Looking ahead, Matsushita maintains its forecast for the fiscal year, ending in March of 2004, with consolidated sales increasing 1 percent from the previous 12 months, to $62.1 billion. The operating profit forecast remains unchanged for the year, up about 18 percent, to $1.3 billion, while net income is expected to improve to about $250.2 million, up from a net loss of $158.5 million the previous year.