Hitachi, Fujitsu, Toshiba Report Mixed Earnings

TOKYO (05/01/2000) - Three of Japan's largest consumer electronics, information technology and electrical equipment makers have announced mixed business results for the fiscal year to March 31. While Hitachi Ltd. and Fujitsu Ltd. both reported a return to the black, Toshiba was pushed into the red on the costs of settling a class action lawsuit in the U.S.

Hitachi said group net sales increased slightly to 8.0 trillion yen after the company saw stronger demand for its semiconductors, LCDs (liquid crystal displays), storage media products and system integration services. Operating income was 174.4 billion yen, pretax income was 79.2 billion yen and net income was 16.9 billion yen.

For the current year, Hitachi said a recovery in personal consumption in Japan remains some way off and a bleak employment picture remains over the country but demand in the rest of Asia is likely to increase. In the U.S., the company said, it is unclear whether the current period of rapid growth will continue.

On the back of these observations, Hitachi forecast a four-percent rise in net sales to 8.3 trillion yen, operating income of 245 billion yen, pretax income of 225 billion yen and net income of 80 billion yen.

Fujitsu reported strong demand for communications systems and electronic devices but slower sales in its information processing and services and software divisions. Group net sales were barely changed at 5.3 trillion yen, operating income jumped 13 percent to 150 billion yen, pretax income was 74.9 billion yen and net income returned to the black at 42.7 billion yen.

In the current year Fujitsu said it expects growth in services and software, its telecommunications business in the U.S., domestic personal computer sales and flash memory chips. As a result the company predicts group net sales will jump 9 percent to 5.75 trillion yen, operating income will be 310 billion yen and net income will be 100 billion yen.

Toshiba reported an 8 percent increase in net sales to 5.75 trillion yen, the first increase in sales in three years, on the back of better sales of semiconductors, LCDs (liquid crystal displays), cellular phones and, in Japan, PCs.

Operating income registered its first rise in four years, more than tripling to 101 billion yen, but pretax income was heavily hit by restructuring expenses and the settlement of a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. concerning the company's floppy disk drive controllers. [See "UPDATE: Toshiba Takes US$1B Charge to Settle Suit," Oct. 29, 1999].

As a result Toshiba recorded a pretax loss of 44.8 billion yen and a net loss of 28 billion yen for the year.

For the current year Toshiba forecast its sales will continue to grow on strength in information- technology-related systems, PCs, cellular telephones and LCDs. The company said it expects sales to rise six percent to 6.10 trillion yen, pretax income to be 180 billion yen and net income to be 100 billion yen.

Hitachi, in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.hitachi.co.jp/. Fujitsu, in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.fujitsu.co.jp/. Toshiba, in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.toshiba.co.jp/.

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