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Digital Camera Manufacturers Report Yearly Earnings

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*April 28, 2005 - *As fiscal quarters end and begin, several leading digital camera manufacturers are reporting seesaw-like readouts regarding their yearly earnings, with Kodak and Sony claiming quarterly losses, while Canon and Matushita (parent company of Panasonic) reported up-ticks in profits during the same time period. Whether these quarterly losses or gains relate to digital camera sales is not always clear.

In the case of Kodak, their stock holders were told last week that during the fourth quarter of FY ’05, the company had a net loss of $142 million. However Kodak did report that its digital product sales rose by 23 percent, compared to the 13 percent down turn in their more traditional divisions.

According to Canon Inc., who for the first quarter of the current fiscal year reported net sales of $7.8 billion (a 5.7 percent increase over the first quarter of last fiscal year), claim their strengths came from stable sales of digital cameras, as well as increased demand for color copiers and office laser printers.

Sony, while this week announcing a $528 million loss for the fourth quarter of FY '05 that ended on March 31, saw their net income raise 85 percent at the end of their fiscal year. How much of this is due to digital cameras sales in unknown, but it is likely attributed to the success of 'Spider-Man 2," and profits from a cellular phone venture with Ericsson.

Matushita, whose profits rose an unexpected 42 percent, also did not disclose precisely how much of this was due to digital cameras, though the ascent stems from a five percent boost in sales within its AVC Network which includes flat screen televisions as well as digital cameras.

Japanese heavyweight Nikon will hold off announcing their year end financial report until May 16. But for the third quarter of FY '05 Nikon reported a 28.7 percent increase in net sales, largely indebted to the demand for their successful digital SLR, the D70.

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