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Japan Electronics Cos. Post Losses

October 27, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ Japanese electronics giant Toshiba Corp. posted losses of more than $50 billion in the first half of fiscal 1998 _ the company’s first dip into the red in nearly 50 years.

Hitachi Ltd., the country’s largest electronics maker, also announced losses today for the half-year ended Sept. 30.

Toshiba posted a $53.6 million parent pretax loss for the latest six months, against a $212 million profit in the same period last year.

Toshiba’s parent sales were down 12.3 percent to $13.4 billion.

The company blamed its poor results on a drop in semiconductor prices and slow demand for computers and consumer electronics. It also said the Asian financial crisis had cut into demand for memory chips.

It was the first time the company had recorded pretax losses since 1950, said company spokesman Kazuyoshi Ishiyama.

Hitachi recorded a parent pretax loss of $580 million for the half-year compared to profits of $279 billion a year earlier.

The company recorded a parent net loss of $1.04 billion for the latest six months against a profit of $204 million a year earlier.

Hitachi’s parent sales were down 12 percent to $15.1 billion from $17.2 billion the previous year.

The company said the losses resulted from Japan’s recession and slumping semiconductor and consumer electronics sales.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Japan’s largest comprehensive heavy machinery maker, announced a sharp fall in profits for the half-year.

Mitsubishi’s parent pretax profits fell to $424 million from $622 million a year earlier. Its parent net profit dropped to $245 million from $363 million.

The company said orders fell as Japan’s recession caused the private sector to invest less in new factories and equipment.

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