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Mark Peters : May 2nd 2006 - 12:30 CET

Fujifilm annual operating profit fell 57 percent


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FujifilmFujifilm annual operating profit fell 57 percent : Japanese Fuji Photo Film said its annual operating profit fell 57%, weighed down by charges for lay-offs and film production cuts, and it forecast a slower-than-expected recovery this year. The company also said it would adopt a new company name, Fujifilm, in line with its brand name for camera film in October, when it plans to create a new holding company. "In any country you go, you can see signs for Fujifilm. It's a worldwide brand," Fuji Photo Film President Shigetaka Komori said. The world's second-largest camera film maker after U.S.-based Eastman Kodak suffers from a shrinking camera film market, even though that business now accounts for less than 10 percent of its sales.
Fujifilm annual operating profit fell 57 percentFujifilm Liquid crystal displays
Another hit has come from rising prices of raw materials such as aluminium used to make printing plates. Fuji Photo's earnings have been supported by strong demand for film used in the production of liquid crystal displays and healthy sales of medical devices like endoscopes and computed radiography equipment. For the year ended last month, Fuji Photo posted a group operating profit of 70.44 billion yen ($614 million), down from 164.44 billion yen a year earlier. Fuji Photo had lowered its 2005/06 profit forecast in January to 75 billion yen because of the restructuring costs.

LCD film and other flat panel display
President Komori said profits in the following years would show a hefty recovery once the company finishes restructuring. "In 2007/08, we will not need restructuring costs any longer," he told a news conference. "The effect of reforms will be in place too. The businesses we are trying to enhance will grow. So our (operating) profits will hit 200 billion yen." The company also plans to boost capital spending in growing areas such as production of LCD film and other flat panel display materials, Komori said.

Fujifilm digital cameras - Low-margin compact models
The company plans to boost spending on research and development by up to 10 percent from about 200 billion yen a year in the last few years to improve competitiveness, he said. The company has halved losses on digital cameras in the last business year compared with a year ago, Chief Financial Officer Toshio Takahashi said. Fuji Photo has struggled to profit from digital cameras, as its line-up is heavy on low-margin compact models. "We hope the current business of improvement will continue this year," Takahashi said. "We're not sure if it turns to a profit this year, but it would be good if we could." The company also said it would create a new holding company in October, called Fujifilm Holdings.





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