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Matsushita’s A/V Sales Up 2% During Fiscal Year

Despite sluggish sales of VCRs, Matsushita Electric Industrial said overall sales of video and audio equipment, part of the company’s AVC Networks product segment, grew 2 percent in the fiscal year, to $13.5 billion, up from $13.2 billion the previous 12 months.

Matsushita’s Information and Communications Equipment segment, which includes car audio and cellular phones, reported strong overseas sales for car audiovisual (AV) equipment in the 12 months, ended March 31. However, drastically reduced sales in mobile communications equipment, including cellular phones and hard drives, resulted in an overall 11 percent decrease in sales within this segment. Sales hit $17 billion, compared with nearly $19 billion in the year-ago period.

Overall AVC Networks segment sales declined 5 percent, to $30.5 billion, down from $32.2 billion in the same period a year ago.

Matsushita reported an operating loss for the year in the AVC Networks segment, down to $389 million, compared with an operating profit of $783.5 million in the year-ago 12 months.

Sales to the Americas last year rose 3 percent, hitting $9.1 billion, up from $8.7 billion in the 12 months a year ago.

However, the Americas recorded an operating loss for the year of $52 million, compared with an operating profit of $87.2 million year over year.

Overseas sales of video and audio equipment climbed 8 percent, reaching $9.1 billion for the 12 months. Overseas sales of car audio and cellular phones dropped 5 percent, hitting $8.7 billion in the past fiscal year.

Overall sales for the fourth quarter, also ending March 31, reached $13.2 billion, while the company reported a net loss of $1.1 billion in the same three months.

Overall, Matsushita consolidated sales for the 12 months were off 10 percent, to $51.7 billion, compared with $57.8 billion in the previous year.

The company reported a consolidated operating loss of $1.6 billion for the 12 months, down from an operating profit of $1.4 billion last year.

Matsushita reported a net loss of $3.2 billion for the fiscal year, compared with net income of $312 million a year ago.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2003, Matsushita expects consolidated sales to increase 3 percent, to $53.2 billion. Net income is expected to improve about $315.8 million, from a loss in the past fiscal year.

For the first half of the new fiscal year, Matsushita forecasts a 2 percent increase in consolidated sales, to $26 billion.