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Wednesday, February 02, 2005
 Konica Minolta net profit down 13 percent for nine months
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Message Text: Leading camera and office equipment maker Konica Minolta said its net profit dropped 13 percent for the nine months to 16.5 billion yen (160 million dollars) due to a hike in corporate tax rates.

Its current profit rose 27.8 percent to 44 billion yen for the period on sales of 798.5 billion yen, up 42.5 percent.

Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. was formed in 2003 through a merger between Konika Corp. and Minolta Corp.

Following the merger, Konica and Minolta were charged at a corporate tax rate of 44 percent, up from 28 percent a year earlier, which hit net profit.

Konica Minolta left its year to March forecasts unchanged at a net profit of 25 billion yen and recurring profit of 70 billion yen on sales of 1.1 trillion yen.

For the three months to December, the company had a mixed performance.

In the mainstay information equipment division, the company posted operating profit of 12 billion yen for the quarter, down from 15.5 billion yen a year earlier, due to a five percent decline in global sales of its low-end monochrome printers.

"But in the high-end, color multi function printers, we saw a 54 percent rise in global sales thanks to the success of our 'bizhub C350' model," Konica Minolta director Masanori Hondo told reporters Wednesday.

In the optic products division, operating profit fell to 3.9 billion yen from 4.9 billion yen for the three months due to a slump in sales of optical pick-up lenses.

"Sales of optical pick-up lenses started to rebound slightly after a severe downturn caused by inventory adjustments among consumer electronics makers but they still did not recover to the previous year's level," Hondo said.

In the photo imaging division, which includes digital cameras, the company posted an operating profit of 1.4 billion yen, reversing a 1.7 billion yen operating loss a year earlier.
 
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