TOKYO: Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd, the world’s second largest consumer electronics maker, reported strong third-quarter earnings yesterday on brisk sales of DVD players and recorders as well as other audiovisual products.
For the October-December 2002 period, the maker of Panasonic brand products achieved a group net profit of 20.89 billion yen (US$176mil) on sales of 1.87 trillion yen. For the same period a year earlier, the group had suffered a net loss of 172.03 billion yen on sales of 1.74 trillion yen.
Operating profit, which excludes financial items such as gains and losses on securities investments and shows companies’ core earnings power, was 42.78 billion yen for the latest quarter, up from an operating loss of 69.71 billion yen the year before.
The upbeat results were widely expected. Investors had been looking to strong figures from Matsushita after competitors including Sony Corp reported buoyant third-quarter figures in late January, easing concerns about potential weakness in the Christmas shopping season.
In the light of the robust performance, Matsushita revised up its operating profit forecast for the full year to March to 120 billion yen, from its prior estimate of 100 billion yen. But it slashed its group net profit estimate for the year to 25 billion yen from a previous estimate of 37 billion yen, citing restructuring charges and stock losses.
For the business year that ended in March 2002, Matsushita had posted a record net loss of 431 billion yen, stung by a stagnant global economy and tough competition. Since then, the Osaka-based company has staged a sharp earnings recovery, helped by aggressive cost-cutting and brisk demand for its AV products and electronic components. – Reuters