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Business – Nikon Camera Earnings to Beat Forecast, Kimura Says

Mariko Yasu and Maki Shiraki

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) — Nikon Corp., the second-biggest maker of cameras used by professionals, will probably earn more from its photography unit than the company had forecast, led by higher-than-expected exports, an executive said.

Sales and profit at Nikon’s imaging operations “will probably be better than our estimate for the first half and the second half,” Makoto Kimura, president of the division, said in an interview on Sept. 25. Stronger demand in China and the accelerating recovery in U.S. and European sales are helping the company, the 61-year-old executive said.

Nikon shares have underperformed Japan’s benchmark stock index since Aug. 6, after the Tokyo-based company forecast a record annual loss. Kimura’s comments support estimates by Tokyo-based Camera & Imaging Products Association, which says the digital-camera market’s drop in shipments slowed in the quarter ended June.

“Pessimism among camera makers is probably fading,” Osamu Hirose, an analyst at Tokai Tokyo Securities, said by phone today. “Nikon’s volume sales of cameras will probably beat its annual projection, as new models with video functionality are selling well and more products may be introduced in the second half.”

Camera Demand

Nikon fell 5.4 percent to 1,595 yen as of 12.35 p.m. on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, extending its loss since Aug. 6 to 15 percent. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average, which dropped 2.6 percent today, has slid 2.5 percent in the same period.

Last month, Nikon widened its annual loss forecast to 28 billion yen ($315 million) because of tumbling orders at the semiconductor-equipment business. Profit at the camera division will probably fall 13 percent to 35 billion yen as revenue declines 15 percent, Nikon said at the time.

Mid- to high-end models of single-lens-reflex cameras are selling more than the company expected, Kimura said. Prices of point-and-shoot compact cameras are also not falling as much as the company had expected, he said.

The value of worldwide shipments of SLR cameras fell 14 percent in the three months ended June 30, after tumbling 53 percent in the preceding quarter, according to CIPA, which tracks data of 14 camera makers including Nikon.

Whether the optimism on earnings lasts will largely depend on sales during the quarter ending Dec. 31, when competition will probably intensify, Kimura said.

“It’s impossible to tell how much our sales will recover until we actually see how it goes in November and December, the busiest season for us,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mariko Yasu in Tokyo at myasu@bloomberg.net.

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September 28, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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