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Canon Cuts 2005 Sales Forecast
Mar 10, 2004
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Canon Inc. has lowered its sales forecast for 2005 by 5 percent to 3.6 trillion yen (approx. U.S. $32.4 billion), but said profits and revenues would continue to climb.

Canon said in a slide show release on its web site that it was aiming for a group pre-tax profit of 500 billion yen in 2005, compared with the 448 billion yen it earned last year and its 2004 forecast for a profit of 470 billion yen.

Profits at Canon are being powered by healthy demand for multi-function network copiers and hot-selling digital cameras, in which it commands about 20 percent of the global market.

Canon had previously targeted 2005 sales of 3.8 trillion yen, but the yen's surge against the dollar, severe price competition in digital camera makers, and falling prices for color laser beam printers (LBP) appear to be concerning the Tokyo-based firm.

The new target for 3.6 trillion yen would still be above the consensus forecast of 3.448 trillion made by 15 analysts polled by Reuters Research.

"There is a possibility that color LBP prices will fall further, but we are prepared to deal with this development," said Canon President and CEO Fujio Mitarai, as quoted by a company spokesman.

Canon said it planned to bolster its lineup of digital cameras, office equipment, and steppers -- key tools for making semiconductors and liquid crystal displays (LCD).

It also said it planned to begin mass-production of next-generation displays for thin televisions in 2006. Canon and electronics conglomerate Toshiba Corp have conducted research since 1999 on surface conduction electron emitter display (SED) panels, with an eye to eventually cooperating on production.

SED panels are thinner than existing flat panels, are said to consume less energy and -- unlike liquid crystal display (LCD) panels -- do not require backlighting because they produce their own light.

"We want to shoot for (annual) sales of at least 100 billion yen," from displays, Mr. Mitarai was quoted as saying.

In the slide show release, Canon estimated the market for flat panel TVs more than 28 in would grow to 30 million units in 2007 from 1.3 million units in 2003.

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