Hitachi Ltd. today reported its first six-month net loss ever -- $1.17 billion (142 billion yen) for the first half of the fiscal year, citing severe losses in semiconductors. The loss compared with a $27 million (33.25 billion yen) profit for the same period a year earlier.
Today's report covered all Hitachi subsidiaries and marked a larger loss than the $57 million loss (69 billion yen) reported last month by the parent company in Japan.
Hitachi blamed extreme losses in its semiconductor group for much of the red ink, without disclosing any precise figures. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Securities, Menlo Park, Calif., however, estimated the chip losses in the first half at nearly $500 million (60 billion yen), compared with a $330 million loss (40 billion yen) for the first half of fiscal 1997. Hitachi did estimate that it would lose $900 million (110 billion yen) in semiconductors for the full fiscal year ending March 31, 1999, compared with a $661 million loss (80 billion yen) for the previous fiscal year.
Hitachi's Information Systems and Electronics group had a $415 million loss in the first half and is expected to incur a $700 million loss for the full fiscal year.
The firm also said it lost $124 million in the first half on flat panel displays and computer peripherals and expects to record a full year loss of $248 million. Semiconductor sales in the first half totaled $2.47 billion, down 21% from the year ago period. Sales of flat panel displays and other electronic devices were $280 million, down 36% from the similar 1997 period.
Hitachi estimated that the current fiscal year breakdown of chip sales will show DRAMs comprising 29% of its sales, down from 35% for the previous fiscal year. Logic chip sales will account for 43% this year, up from 38% in fiscal 1997. Discrete devices will hold steady at 17%, and bipolar at 11%.
Hitachi said it would take a $500 million special charge related to liquidating its Twinstar fab joint venture with Texas Instruments, and another $250 million charge for additional restructuring of the chip operations.