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Mark Peters : May 10th 2005 - 01:30 CET

Olympus plans two new high-end SLR camera models


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OlympusOlympus plans two new high-end SLR camera models : Japanese digital camera maker Olympus swung to a loss in the financial year ended March after the company slashed prices to cope with competition and spent 5.5 bln yen to restructure its digital camera business. Olympus reported a full-year net loss of 11.8 bln yen, reversing a profit of 33.6 bln yen the year before. 'We can attribute the (loss) solely to the sluggishness in the visual product division,' said Hideo Yamada, director and member of the board of Olympus. 'To drastically restructure our visual product division (covering digital cameras), we booked huge restructuring charge in this division,' he added.
Olympus plans two new high-end SLR camera modelsOlympus - Rebuilding camera business
'Rebuilding the digital camera business is our foremost challenge.' Full-year profit tumbled 82% to 10.2 bln yen and operating profit plunged 63% to 23.1 bln yen. Revenue, however, rose 28% to 813.5 bln yen. The results were less than the company's forecast announced last month when it projected a net loss of 10 bln yen, current profit of 13.5 bln yen and operating profit of 26.5 bln yen. 'While we managed to secure the intended level of global digital camera market share in the past year, sales fell short of our previous estimates,' Yamada said.

Olympus - Cost-cutting efforts
Olympus said it sold 8.9 mln digital cameras, up 20 pct, but below its target of 9.5 mln units. 'What made things worse is the continued downward pressure on prices, which we could not absorb with our cost-cutting efforts,' Yamada said. As a result, Olympus incurred operating loss of 23.9 bln yen in its visual product division, reversing the year-earlier profit of 15.1 bln yen.

Olympus - Positive impact
For the current year to March 2006, Olympus is projecting to ship 9.5 mln digital cameras. 'We think the average retail price of our digital cameras will decline by 3 pct in the new fiscal year, but the degree of decline is smaller than the 17-18 pct drop in the past year,' Olympus accounting department general manager Hironobu Kawamata said. 'The restructuring efforts which we implemented are not going to yield immediate positive impact,' Yamada said.

Olympus - Two new SLR digital camera models
Olympus expects to return to the black in the current financial year with a net profit of 23 bln yen and revenue seen rising 31.5 pct to 1.07 trln yen. To improve the profitability of its digital camera operations, Olympus said it plans to release two high-end single lens reflex (SLR) digital camera models during the current financial year. The Camera and Imaging Products Association of Japan forecasts global shipments of digital cameras will expand by 20.8 pct to 72.2 mln units in 2005, while domestic shipments are expected to increase by 1.8% to 8.7 mln units. While the low-end, compact digital camera market is now maturing, competition in the high-end SLR digital camera market is getting fiercer, as rivals Canon, Nikon and Konica Minolta shift to SLR digital cameras.





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