Fujitsu loss tops US$1b again, Toshiba eyes recovery


  • Business
  • Saturday, 26 Apr 2003

TOKYO: Two of Japan’s biggest chip and computer makers unveiled sharply different earnings fortunes yesterday, with Toshiba Corp squeezing out a profit but rival Fujitsu Ltd losing more than US$1bil for the second year running. 

Fujitsu, Japan’s largest computer maker, said it planned to bounce back to profit this year by shaking up its management and appointing a new president, although investors were less confident. 

The company's net loss of 122.1 billion yen (US$1.02bil) for the year ended March 31 was an improvement on the previous year’s record loss of 382.54 billion yen, but compared poorly with Toshiba’s 18.5 billion yen profit. 

Facing pressure from investors and analysts to stem heavy losses, Fujitsu said it would appoint senior vice-president Hiroaki Kurokawa, 60, as president and move current head Naoyuki Akikusa, 64, to the chairman’s post. 

“We have completed one phase of our restructuring,” outgoing chief financial officer Takashi Takaya told reporters. “Now we can consistently generate profits.” 

Fujitsu’s computer software and services businesses are profitable, but heavy losses at its semiconductor and telecoms equipment divisions continue to erode its balance sheet as it tries to recast itself as a computer services company similar to IBM Corp. 

Toshiba, for its part, said continued strong demand for chips used in digital cameras and mobile phones were expected to more than double its 2003 net profit to 40 billion yen. 

But with the previous year’s record net loss of 254.02 billion yen from hefty restructuring costs still fresh in his mind, Kuroyaki Shimagami, Toshiba’s senior executive vice-president, was not ready to declare a recovery. 

“It would be premature to call this a V-shaped recovery,” he said after a briefing with reporters. “If we can hit our earnings targets again this year, then we can call it a recovery.” 

Toshiba has forecast revenues of 5.7 trillion yen in 2003/04 and an operating profit of 170 billion yen. That compares with last year’s sales of 5.66 trillion yen and operating profit of 115.54 billion yen. – Reuters  

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