Canon Industry News

Canon Seen to Have Auspicious Start in January-March
Canon Inc.’s group operating profit for the January-March quarter is seen to have nearly qua- drupled year-on-year to about 75 billion yen (US$833 million), spurred by robust sales of DSLR cameras. Also, its operating profit margin is seen to exceed 10% for the first time in six quarters, partly due to recovering demand for laser printers.

Sales are seen to have increased 5% to around 720 billion yen (US$8 billion) for the first quarter. With inventory adjustments having completed, laser printer shipments are expected to be rising sharply. The group operating profit is seen to have shrunk 20% from the October-December quarter, a period that benefits from year-end sales campaigns, but it would far exceed the 20 billion (US$222 million) operating profit logged in the same period a year earlier.

Canon has not disclosed an earnings forecast for the January-March quarter. But the company is seen to have an operating profit target set at just below 40 billion yen (US$444 million) for the quarter so it is seen to report an operating profit roughly double the target figure for the quarter. Canon closes its books December 31. Should favorable sales continue into and after April, the company may raise its full-year earnings forecast, which calls for sales to grow 8% to 3.45 trillion yen (US$38.3 billion) and operating profit to soar 52% to 330 billion yen (US$3.67 billion).

Sales of digital SLR cameras are rising, particularly in Asia, with middle to high-end models selling well in China. Prices of compact cameras were kept steady despite harsh competition, contributing to improved earnings. The company also continued to cut fixed costs, including travel expenses.

Canon Celebrates Startup Operation of Nagasaki Canon
On March 17, Canon In. held a ceremony to celebrate the first lot of shipping of PowerShot G11 assembled at Nagasaki Canon, a digital camera manufacturing subsidiary that went into operation on March 1 in Hazami, Nagasaki Prefecture. Canon plans to produce two million digital cameras including DSLRs there in 2010 and aims at 4 million cameras next year.

Initially, Canon had planned to start construction of the new factory in the 4th quarter of 2008, but it was obliged to postpone the construction work for a while due to the world economy recession and started working in July last year. Eventually, it could finish the construction work one month earlier than planned and started operations on March 1. The factory created 850 jobs which will be 1,000 next year.

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