Cameras, copiers gave Canon record results in 2005

Strong demand for digital cameras and higher-end printers helped Canon achieve record sales and profits in 2005.

Strong demand for its digital cameras, printers and faxes helped Canon achieve record sales and profits in 2005, the company said Monday.

Net sales for the year were up 8.3 percent at YEN 3.8 trillion (US$31.9 billion as of Dec. 31, the last day of the period being reported) and net income increased 11.9 percent to YEN 384.1 billion. Canon's fiscal year runs from January to December.

The company's camera business saw sales rise 15.2 percent on the back of strong demand for digital SLR (single lens reflex) and compact cameras, said Richard Berger, a spokesman for the company. Its EOS Digital Rebel XT and EOS 5D were particularly popular in the digital SLR category, while the PowerShot SD400, SD450, SD550 and A520 were strong performers in the compact camera sector, the company said.

Demand for all-in-one copiers, printers and faxes shifted towards higher-end models and color machines, helping its office imaging business record a 2.9 percent increase in sales. Demand was also strong for laser printers, with Canon reporting a 30 percent sales increase for color models.

The company's decision to curtail PC sales in Japan reduced overall results at its business information products division, which saw sales drop 10.9 percent.

In Canon's precision instruments division, demand for aligners, which are used in the production of LCD (liquid crystal display) panels, was also strong thanks to the rapidly expanding LCD TV market.

The company anticipates an even stronger 2006. It hopes to achieve net sales of YEN 4.1 trillion and net income of YEN 415 billion this year. Those forecasts represent increases of 8.1 percent and 8.0 percent, respectively, on its 2005 results.

The year is likely to see management changes at Canon because Fujio Mitarai, the company's president and CEO, will become head of Japan's powerful Nippon Keidanren business lobby on May 24. Because of work demands, presidents appointed to that post typically take up the title of chairman at their own organizations and leave the day-to-day company affairs to a new president.

Canon didn't announce a new president Monday but it did say that Mitarai would be appointed chairman from May, pending shareholder approval. A report in Monday morning's Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper said Tsuneji Uchida, head of Canon's image communication products operations, would be made president.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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