Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said its group profit climbed 73 percent in the second fiscal quarter, buoyed by brisk sales in digital audiovisual products, cellular phones, and factory automation equipment. The company, known for its Panasonic brand, said it earned 59.6 billion yen (U.S. $550.52 million) in the July-September period, up from 34.4 billion yen a year ago. Sales rose 3 percent to 1.876 trillion yen ($17.33 billion) from 1.827 trillion a year ago. Matsushita said its sales growth reflected increasing demand in digital audiovisual products, cellular phones and factory automation equipment, despite a slump in seasonal products, such as air-conditioners, due to the cool summer.
The company earned 23.15 billion yen ($213.83 million) in the first half of its fiscal year, up 32 percent from 17.60 billion yen in the same period last year, thanks to brisk demand for gadgets including DVD recorders and flat-screen televisions. Strong product demand lifted group sales to 3.64 trillion yen ($33.62 billion) from 3.62 trillion yen a year earlier. Matsushita's operating profit for the first half was 79.61 billion yen ($735.36 million), up 59 percent and outstripping the company's target of 55 billion yen. It also exceeded analysts' forecasts of 65 billion to 75 billion yen ($606.81 million to $692.78 million).
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