April 28, 2006 – Canon, Fuji, and Sony filed their quarterly earnings reports yesterday with Canon and Sony raking in big profits and Fuji struggling to make money off its camera division. Canon’s digital cameras seem to be selling the best, and Sony’s profits come mainly from its flat-screen televisions. Fuji took a hit in sales as it announced a company-wide restructuring plan yesterday.
Canon attributed its 34 percent net profit in the fourth quarter to strong sales of its PowerShot digital cameras and copying machines. During that time, sales totaled $9.5 billion and the net profit was $922 million. The fiscal year brought in $3.3 billion in profits, and Canon predicts a record-breaking year for 2006. They expect to see a $3.6 billion profit margin. Canon plans to release flat-screen televisions later this year; it has been developing technology through a partnership with Toshiba Corporation.
Canon will likely have stiff competition though. Much of Sony’s 68 percent increase in annual profit came from its flat-screen television division. Certainly none of its billion-dollar annual net profit came from its games division. Sony blames start-up costs of the PlayStation 3 for dragging the company down. The company forecasts a sharp drop in profits, followed by a sharp spike with the release of the PS3 due out next year. Sony plans to sell 6 million PS3 consoles by next March. Despite the roller-coaster profits, Sony plans on investing a good chunk of money in manufacturing image sensor chips.
Fujifilm is having a tough time in the maturing digital camera market, with the majority of its FinePix models on the lower end. The company is amidst a major restructuring that involves adding a holdings company in October. The new company will manage Fuji Xerox and Fujifilm Corporation, which just received a name change yesterday from Fuji Photo Film Co. According to Reuters, the company opted to change the name for branding strategy purposes – not because of slumping film sales. The company plans to keep its film business up and running, despite annual operating profits that dropped 57 percent in the last fiscal year. There are some bright spots to Fujifilm’s forecast though. The company has reduced its losses in the digital camera division by 50 percent and plans to invest in more research and development to improve its digital cameras.