Canon Inc. reported that its fourth quarter profit increased 1.8% from the year before, helping it reach a record annual profit for the eighth straight year. The company also forecast steady profit growth in the year ahead despite anxiety about a global economic slowdown and the strong yen, which could drag on exports.
Net income rose to 127.8 billion yen (approx. $1.197 billion) in the October-December quarter. Sales of office equipment and cameras largely offset a rise in research and development expenses. Sales in the fiscal fourth quarter climbed 3.9% to 1.264 trillion yen ($11.8 billion).
Office equipment sales rose 5% on growth in its combination printer-copier-fax machine business. Single-purpose monochrome and color laser printers also helped support growth.
Sales of digital compact and single lens reflex cameras fueled 5.4% growth in the company's digital camera business from the year before, it said. But greater research and development spending and a rise in operating expenses held fourth quarter profits down.
For the full year, Canon's profit rose 7.3% to 488.33 billion yen ($4.57 billion). That missed the company's forecast for 500 billion yen but it was still the eighth straight year of record annual earnings. Annual sales rose 7.7% to 4.48 trillion yen ($41.97 billion).
Looking ahead, Canon predicts that annual net earnings will rise 6.5% to 520 billion yen ($4.87 billion) on sales of 4.72 trillion yen ($44.22 billion). (AP)