LONDON Japan’s largest consumer electronics company, Matsushita Electric, posted its fourth consecutive year of increased sales and profits on the back of strong sales of plasma display TVs and digital electronics devices, but forecast lower growth for the year ahead.
Annual sales to end March 2006 rose 2.1 percent to ¥ 8.89 trillion ($79 billion) while net profits more than doubled to ¥ 154.4 billion ($1.35 billion). Operating profits rose 34 per cent to ¥ 414.3 billion ($3.6 billion).
Panasonic comprised over 40 percent of Matsushita’s nearly ¥ 9 trillion ($79 billion) in sales. Of that amount, plasma TVs accounted for ¥ 421 billion ($3.7 billion) in sales, up 93 percent year-over-year. Matsushita clamed that it sold 2 million units of plasma TVs in fiscal 2005, accounting for 35 percent of the world plasma TV market.
Digital still camera sales were ¥
130 billion ($1.1 billion).
Matsushita said it was looking to double sales of plasma TVs and digital cameras this year to 4 million and 8 million units respectively, while boosting capital spending by nearly 10 percent to ¥ 380 billion to help drive future growth.
But the group as a whole is looking for basically flat sales next year of ¥ 8,950 billion ($78.5 billion), and a 9 per cent rise in operating profits to ¥ $450 billion ($3.9 billion).
For the last quarter ended March 2006, the group swung back into the black with net profits of ¥ 40.7 billion. In the same quarter of its last fiscal year, the group lost ¥ 33.2 billion.
Matsushita’s strong result came as arch rival Sony Corp. reported a 68 percent increase in annual profits on robust sales of its flat TVs, yet forecast sharp falls for the coming year due to increasing costs at its games console operation.