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Monday, 5 November, 2001, 10:30 GMT
Camera firms see bleak Christmas
Nintendo website
Nintendo: prices of screens and chips are lower
Japan's digital camera-makers are thought to be slashing Christmas shipments to the United States, fearing slower-than-usual sales in the festive season.

Meanwhile, Game Boy console-maker Nintendo may have become a suprise beneficiary of the recession that is squeezing South East Asia's hi-tech exporting economies as a result of the US slowdown.

While many Japanese IT and telecoms giants have reported losses, Nintendo has gained from price cuts in key games console components and looks set to post better-than expected profits, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported.

"We have reaped the benefits from a drop in component prices so that should give some boost to our profits," a Nintendo company spokesman confirmed.

He declined to comment on the report that Nintendo's operating profits for the six months to 30 September will be up 29% on the same period of last year.

Nintendo will post profits of 51bn yen ($418.3m) later this month thanks to a 29% profits surge, the Nihon Kezai said. The firm's figures are due on 21 November.

The IT sector's troubles have cut the price of components such as liquid crystal displays and memory chips.

Grim snapshot

However, Japan's major digital camera makers are all thought to have cut Christmas shipments to North America, prompted by fears of a slowdown in the US market.

Fuji Photo Film will reduce its shipments by 7% to 2.5 million digital cameras, instead of the 2.7 million originally planned, the Nihon Keizai reported.

Nikon will maintain its current output but will switch 40,000 cameras originally intended for the US market to Europe instead, the paper said.

Canon is also thought to be reducing Christmas shipments by half a million units to 2.5 million.

Olympus will send at most 3.3 million digital cameras to the US, instead of 3.7 million.

Olympus raises forecast

A spokesman for Olympus said the report was speculation.

But he acknowledged: "Slowing sales of digitial cameras expected in the United States will no doubt have an impact" on the firm's shipment levels.

The firm said it expects to export 27% fewer cameras to the United States during 2001 this year than last year.

Exports make up 70% of Olympus sales.

However, Olympus raised its forecast for operating profits to 16bn yen ($10bn) for the six months to the end of September from 15bn previously.

The boost is largely due to the weaker yen, which it forecast will help lift sales 13% above the same period of last year, to 246bn yen.

See also:

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