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Raising Camera Prices Helps Konica-Minolta Increase Profits

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August 3, 2005 – Profits at Konica-Minolta for the first quarter, ending June 30, rose 1 percent to 7.32 billion yen ($65.8 million), resulting from increasing camera prices and restructuring efforts at the company.

While revenues fell 6.9 percent to 244 billion yen, Konica-Minolta was able to make gains in its profit, due to rising prices for its cameras and a nearly 50 percent reduction in manufacturing as it shifts towards higher end models. Sales of digital cameras fell 23 percent to 550,000 units, when compared to the same period last year.

"Thanks to a strategic shift to high-end digital cameras, with more than 5 million pixels, the average retail price of our digital cameras rose some 17 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier," Konica-Minolta public relations general manager Yuji Suzuki said in a press conference announcing the results.

Konica-Minolta is currently projecting a loss of 4 billion yen for the photo imaging division, but the operating loss for the company’s camera division was reduced 65 percent from the first quarter a year ago. While profits for the first quarter where better than expected, Konica-Minolta stood by projections that net profits for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006 would be 23 billion yen on revenue of 1.13 trillion yen.

In an effort to improve profitability, Konica-Minolta is planning to raise sales of high-end DSLRs to 250,000 units this year from 80,000 units sold last year. The company also intends to reduce sales of compact digital cameras to 2 million units this year compared to 2.75 million last year.

Konica-Minolta recently announced a partnership with Sony to develop DSLRs that would be branded under both company names and utilize Konica-Minolta lenses.

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