Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic) and Toshiba both recorded higher sales and profits for the year on the back of strong demand for products like flat-panel televisions.
The companies, which were reporting results for the period from April 2005 to March 2006, painted a generally positive picture of demand for digital consumer electronics and IT equipment, but said increased competition was pushing prices down and squeezing profits. Panasonic also said rising raw materials costs and higher oil prices were a source of concern for the current year.
Panasonic saw its electronics business grow 4 per cent during the year, with audio-visual (AV) equipment sales up 6 per cent and IT equipment sales up 2 per cent. Plasma TVs and digital cameras helped the AV sector, while the IT sector offset lower handset sales with higher sales of PCs and automotive electronics products, it said.
Net profit rose 164 per cent to YEN 154 billion and net sales grew 2 per cent to YEN 8.9 trillion. That sales figure easily beat Sony, which last week reported sales of YEN 7.5 trillion for the same period, confirming Panasonic's position as the world's largest consumer electronics company on a revenue basis.
Toshiba reported strong demand for its PCs, mainly in the US and Europe, and higher sales of mobile phones thanks to a positive response from customers to new handsets in Japan. Toshiba's digital products business overall saw 14 per cent higher sales, it said.
Net profit was YEN 78 billion, up 70 per cent on the year, and net sales were YEN 6.3 trillion, up 9 per cent.
Both companies said they expect the sales and profits growth to continue in the current year.
Panasonic predicted sales growth of 1 per cent, to YEN 9 trillion, while net profits will increase 23 per cent to YEN 190 billion. Toshiba said it expects sales to jump 4 per cent to YEN 6.6 trillion, and net profits to advance 12 per cent to YEN 90 billion.