Toshiba eyes IT, mobile in mid term plans

In sharp contrast to its short-term business outlook, electronics giant Toshiba Corp. said Tuesday its mid-term business outlook is bright and raised its forecasts for its 2002 and 2003 financial years.

Unveiling its mid-term business plan, the company said it expects sales in fiscal year 2002, the year from April 1, 2002, to be 7.4 trillion yen (US$60.6 billion) rising to 7.9 trillion yen a year later. Operating income is expected to be 350 billion yen and 450 billion yen respectively.

The figures are higher than its forecasts for the current year to March 31, which it revised down just over a month ago on the back of lower than expected demand for key products and the weakening US economy. Toshiba hopes it will be able to achieve these higher sales and profits through a renewed focus on the hot business areas of IT-related business and mobile telecommunications equipment. It plans to create two new in-house companies from April 1 absorbing related units in these areas. Investment will also be concentrated in these areas, with 70 percent of the planned 1.2 trillion yen research and development budget over the next three years devoted to information technology-related areas.

Among its major business areas, the company announced specific targets.

Its LCD (liquid crystal display) panel business will focus on low temperature polysilicon TFT (thin film transistor) screens with a new factory in Singapore and a joint venture with Matsushita Electric expected to help it achieve sales in 2003 of 320 billion yen -- more than double sales in the 2000 fiscal year.

In the mobile communications sector, the company said it expects mobile phone and PDA (personal digital assistant) sales to reach 550 billion yen in 2003 from 200 billion yen in 2000. The company is a major manufacturer of cellular telephones and is planning to launch its first PDA in the Japan market later this year.

Its e-solutions in-house company, which encompasses Toshiba's Internet services and digital broadcasting units, is aiming for sales of 750 billion yen in 2003, up from 600 billion yen in 2000, while sales of PCs including products such as wireless Internet appliances and home servers is expected to hit 1 trillion yen from 720 billion yen in 2000.

Toshiba Corp. mid-term financial forecastsSource: Toshiba (all figures in billions of yen) Fiscal year 2002 Fiscal year 2003Sales 7,400 7,900Operating Income 350 450Net Income 150 200Toshiba, in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-3457-2105 or found online at http://www.toshiba.co.jp/.

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