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Thomson’s Consumer Products ’01 Sales Dip 4%

Sales of analog television sets and VCRs from Thomson Multimedia decreased in the United States in 2001, due mainly to retailer inventory reductions in the second half, reported the France-based company, maker of RCA-branded products.

The decline came despite “good activity level,” in the United States, notably for Thomson’s mid-range TV sets, between the Thanksgiving to Christmas selling period, said the company.

Thomson’s consumer products division recorded a 4.1 percent revenue decrease during 2001, reaching $5.8 billion, down from $6 billion the previous year.

The consumer products division’s operating income declined 22.1 percent in 2001, hitting $117.5 million, down from $150.8 million in 2000.

Sales of digital set-top boxes and cable modems hit 6.8 million units in 2001, matching the “exceptional” levels of 2000, said Thomson.

During the fourth quarter, Thomson overall recorded revenue of $3 billion, an increase of 27 percent, compared with the fourth quarter in 2000. This good performance was supported by a return to growth of its consumer products division, which enjoyed a 2.8 percent sales increase during the last three months of the year.

Overall, Thomson revenue jumped 15.4 percent for the 12 months, hitting $9.2 billion, up from $8 billion in 2000.

Earnings before income and taxes (EBIT) climbed 16.5 percent in the 12 months, reaching $557.6 million, up from $478.7 million the previous year.

Net income, however, dropped 27.4 percent, to $250.8 million in 2001, down from $345.5 million in the previous 12 months. Net income includes a charge of $121.9 million in 2001, compared with a tax gain of $876,900 in 2000.

Despite a difficult 2001, Thomson maintains overall company double-digit growth targets for both revenue and operating profit in 2002, particularly with televisions in the United States. The manufacturer said it should benefit from new initiatives supporting growth and profitability.