Japan's Canon boosts full-year profit outlook

Posted at 04/25/12 4:48 PM

TOKYO - Japanese high-tech giant Canon said Wednesday it was boosting its full-year profit outlook to $3.6 billion, predicting that a weaker yen and strong sales of high-end cameras would help its balance sheet.

The maker of PowerShot digital cameras and office equipment said it now expects a net profit of 290 billion yen ($3.6 billion) this year, up about 17.0 percent from an earlier forecast of 250 billion yen.

The company said it was also expecting sales of 3.9 trillion yen this year, up from a January forecast of 3.75 trillion yen.

The rosier outlook came as Canon said it earned 61.54 billion yen in the first quarter, up from 55.46 billion yen in the same period a year earlier, which ended just weeks after Japan's devastating quake-tsunami disaster.

Canon said its production had recovered from the impact of the natural disasters as well as record flooding in Thailand later in the year, which pounded the supply chains of Japanese firms with a presence in the country.

A month after the Japanese disaster, Canon had warned that its outlook was "extremely uncertain" owing to damaged inventory and a shortage of parts, which forced it to halt factory lines.

On Wednesday, the firm said its office equipment market "continued to display growth" despite a dip in demand for laser printers in Europe while digital cameras "continued to realise robust growth in all regions".

Canon said it expected the office equipment market to grow "modestly" through the year "while the laser printer market is expected to follow a path of recovery in the second half of the year".

"Demand for digital SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras is anticipated to continue achieving robust growth worldwide while demand for compact digital cameras should grow mainly for high value-added models," the company said.

Earlier this year, Canon said Japan's strong currency, which set several post-World War II highs against the US dollar in 2011, had cost it over 80.0 billion yen at the operating profit level.

But a recent weakening in the yen would help the firm's bottom line, Canon said, adding that its upgraded forecast was based on the currency trading around the 80.0 level against the greenback.

The yen was trading at 81.39 against the dollar on Wednesday.

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