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Matsushita Q2 A/V Sales Increase 11%

Osaka, Japan – Sharp gains in video and audio equipment, namely televisions, camcorders and DVD players, helped push up second quarter sales of the A/V equipment segment at Matsushita Electric Industrial by 11 percent.

Sales hit $4 billion for the three months, ended Sept. 30, up from $3.7 billion in the year-ago period. Second quarter sales of information and communications equipment, primarily PC-related products, were off in the period, and these declines were not offset by solid sales in car AVC equipment. Thus, information and communications segment sales edged downward 2 percent in the second quarter, reaching $4.3 billion, compared with $4.4 billion in the same three months in 2001.

For the six months, A/V equipment sales jumped 15 percent, hitting $7.9 billion, up from $6.8 billion in the same period in 2001. Sales in the information and communications segment were flat in the six months, registering $8.89 billion, compared with $8.93 billion year-on-year.

Matsushita AVC Networks division sales, which combine A/V and communications equipment, moved up 4 percent in the second quarter and 6 percent in the half. The AVC Networks division registered an operating profit of $286 million for the first half, compared with a $262.1 million operating loss in the first half of 2001.

Overall Matsushita sales to the Americas edged up 1 percent in the first half, at about $4.9 billion, the same as the year-ago period. Operating profit in the Americas improved over the six months, registering $88 million, compared with an operating loss of $15.5 million in the same six months last year.

Improving overseas sales, helped boost consolidated Matsushita second quarter sales by 4 percent. This hit $14.6 billion for the second three months, compared with $13.9 billion in the second quarter of last year. Net income for the three months also improved, with this reaching $111 million in the second quarter, compared with a $407.7 million loss in the same quarter in 2001.

Even with the slowing of U.S. economic growth, combined with sluggish consumer spending in Japan, Matsushita first half sales increased 4 percent, to $29 billion, up from $27.6 billion year over year. The company recorded a $372 million operating profit in the six months, compared with an operating loss of $616.1 million in the same period a year ago. It also enjoyed a net profit of $146 million in the six months, compared with a net loss of $565.4 million in the year-ago first half.

The ongoing slowdown in the U.S. economy, aggravated by recent West Coast dock strike, has convinced Matsushita to refigure its fiscal-year numbers. On a consolidated basis, the company now expects annual sales for the current fiscal year, ending next March, to increase 3 percent from the previous fiscal year, to about $57.4 billion, a slight downward revision from the original forecast of $57.6 billion.

The company maintained its original forecast for consolidated operating profit of about $813.7 million for the full fiscal year. Net income for the fiscal year is estimated to be $301.1 million, compared with the original forecast of $341.7 million.