SAN JOSE, Calif. Four major Japanese chip and IC-equipment vendors Advantest, Canon, Fujitsu and NEC posted mixed results amid a downturn in the semiconductor business.
On the chip front, citing a decline in prices for semiconductors, NEC Corp. (Tokyo) posted a profit 3.25 billion yen ($30.7 million) in the first quarter of 2005, down 77 percent from the like period a year ago.
Group sales in the quarter were 1.436 trillion yen ($13.5 billion), down 1.5 percent from the like period a year ago.
For the fiscal year ending in March next year, NEC expects a 12 percent fall in group net profit to 60 billion yen ($566 million) and a 3 percent rise in sales to 5 trillion yen ($47 billion), according to Reuters.
Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo) reported consolidated net sales of 4.8 trillion yen ($44.512 billion) for fiscal year 2004, roughly even with the net sales recorded in the previous fiscal year. Solid sales gains in the platforms segment helped to offset modest sales declines in software and electronic devices.
Consolidated net income was 31.9 billion yen ($298 million), down 35.8 percent from the like period a year ago.
"Although disappointed that we were not able to meet our original earnings targets for fiscal 2004, I am encouraged by the strong performance in our platforms segment, as well as by significant improvement in our overseas businesses, where we were profitable in every region," said Fujitsu President Hiroaki Kurokawa, in a statement.
It was a better story for chip-equipment makers in Japan. Despite missing its scanner shipment projections, Canon Inc.'s chip-equipment unit posted an operating profit of 12.7 billion yen ($118 million) in the first quarter of 2005, up 7.9 percent from the like period a year ago.
Canon (Tokyo), the world's third largest lithography-tool vendor, said its semiconductor equipment unit posted sales of 89.9 billion yen ($840 million), up 10.3 percent from the like period a year ago.
Canon's chip-equipment unit posted an operating profit of 3.4 billion yen ($33.1 million) in the fourth quarter of 2004. Its semiconductor equipment unit posted sales of 100.7 billion yen ($968.2 million) in Q4.
Canon shipped a total of 73 scanners in Q1, including 44 for IC applications and 29 steppers geared for LCDs. However, the company missed its forecast, as it was projected to ship 77 scanners in Q1, including 58 for ICs and 19 for LCDs.
For the year ended March 31, IC-test maker Advantest Corp. (Tokyo) reported a net of 38.08 billion yen ($360 million), compared to 17.33 billion yen ($169.3 million) the year before. The result was below a consensus estimate, according to analysts.
And citing strong memory-test sales, Advantest said group revenues were 239.4 billion ($2.25 billion) for the year, up 37.4 percent from a year ago.