Three of Japan's major electronics companies-Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., and Toshiba Corp.-blamed severe fiscal-year losses on weak DRAM pricing.
Price tags were so low that it caused Toshiba to report its first loss in 23 years. In the fiscal year ended March 31, Toshiba chalked up a loss of $113 million, compared with a $60 million net profit for the previous year. Sales totaled $43.8 billion, down 3% from $45.1 billion in the year-ago period.
"[Fiscal 1998] was a pathetic year, and we hope it marks the bottom," said Toshiba executive vice president Kiyoaki Shimagami.
Heavy losses stemmed from Toshiba's semiconductor and consumer-electronic operations, although its notebook-PC business prospered, officials said.
The company reported a $568 million operating loss in its semiconductor group.
Fujitsu Ltd. also said the DRAM price collapse contributed to losses within its chip business, wiping out operating profits within its information-processing group.
Fujitsu reported a $111 million net loss in the last fiscal year, compared with a $50 million profit for the preceding fiscal year. Sales totaled $43.3 billion, up from $41.15 billion the previous year.
Meanwhile, Hitachi's fiscal-year sales fell 5%, to $65.9 billion; losses amounted to $2.8 billion. Not only did the DRAM business contribute to the massive loss, but System LSI sales fell short of expectations, the company said.
Sales and earnings were also lower in display components; the company said "intense competition in the area of liquid-crystal displays and color display tubes" was to blame.