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Matsushita Fiscal Q1 Operating Profit Up 48%

OSAKA, Japan — Matsushita Electric Industrial reported consolidated operating profit of $200 million, up 48 percent, while consolidated group sales were up 1 percent to $16.72 billion for the first quarter ended June 30.

Compared to the same period last year domestic sales were up 1 percent to $8.16 billion, while overseas sales grew 1 percent to $8.56 billion, “reflecting the economic recovery in Southeast Asia and continued growth in North America and Europe,” the company said.

Matsushita said its consolidated operating profit gain of 48 percent resulted from efforts to reduce production costs and from sales gains, particularly in components. However, income before taxes decreased 13 percent to $270 million, due to decreased non-operating profit, which had been magnified by a one-time gain last year.

Consumer product sales declined 3 percent to $6.48 billion vs. the same time last year. Sales of video and audio equipment decreased, as domestic sales of TVs and VCRs remained weak, while overseas sales declined slightly after being translated into yen. However, on a local currency basis, overseas sales in the consumer products category grew steadily, led by VCRs and DVD players.

Sales of home appliances and household equipment slipped 3 percent from a year ago, as sales in this category remained slow despite increases in domestic sales of vacuum cleaners and dishwashers.

As for components sales, Matsushita the category grew 7 percent during the quarter to $3.77 billion. Cited as reasons were high demand for semiconductors, LCD panels and electric motors, all of which enjoyed strong demand in such areas as digital and mobile communications-related products.

Matsushita said that based on first-quarter results, it is forecasting group sales to be up 2 percent for the first half while operating income should rise 23 percent. Consolidated pre-tax income is anticipated to increase 7 percent, and the six-month income should rise 26 percent.