Strong sales of Panasonic products — mainly televisions, camcorders, DVD players and plasma display panels — helped Matsushita Electric Industrial post a 19 percent gain in its A/V equipment area. This total, primarily mainstream consumer electronics, hit $3.9 billion, up from $3.3 billion in the year-ago quarter.
A/V equipment makes up about half of Matsushita's AVC Networks segment, which during the fiscal first quarter hit $8.7 billion, up from $7.9 billion in the year-ago period. AVC Networks includes both video and audio equipment and information and communications equipment.
Matsushita said it benefited from new product introductions, aggressive marketing activities for the new products and increased demand propelled by Japan's co-hosting of soccer's 2002 World Cup.
In information and communications products, which makes up the approximate second half of the AVC Networks segment, cellular phones and personal computer-related equipment recorded sales declines.
However, strong sales in auto AVC equipment, fixed-line communications equipment and broadcast- and business-use A/V equipment contributed to an overall 1 percent increase in first quarter sales in the information and communications products category. This total reached $4.72 billion, compared with $4.65 billion in the first three months last year.
The AVC Networks segment also recorded an overall operating profit during the period, coming in at $140 million, compared with an operating loss of $143.3 million in the first quarter of 2001.
Total overseas AVC Networks segment sales rose 11 percent in the first quarter, ended June 30, to $5.1 billion. Overseas sales of A/V products, alone, increased 16 percent in the first three months, reaching $2.6 billion. Overseas sales of information and communications products climbed 6 percent, to $2.5 billion.
Matsushita consolidated group sales for the first quarter increased 5 percent, to $14.8 billion, up from $14 billion in the same quarter last year.
Consolidated operating profit for the first quarter increased to $122 million, compared with an operating loss of $322.3 million in the same three months a year ago.
Consolidated net income for the three months rose to $36 million, up from a net loss in the same quarter of the previous year of $161.4 million.