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Canon Inc. profit tumbles

TOKYO, Jul 28 – Japan\’s Canon Inc. said on Tuesday its net profit tumbled 84.5 percent in the first half of 2009 from a year earlier, hit by sluggish sales of compact digital cameras and other electronics.

The yen\’s strength against other currencies also ate into profits at Canon, which relies heavily on overseas markets for sales.

The photographic and office equipment maker said net profit plunged to 33.35 billion yen (351 million dollars) in the six months through June, the first half of its business year, from 214.49 billion in the same period of 2008.

Operating profit slumped 80.4 percent to 64.94 billion yen as revenue slid 29.9 percent to 1.48 trillion yen, a company statement said.

Canon has enjoyed strong sales of high-end digital single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras in recent years, but it has not been immune to the global economic downturn, which has battered Japanese electronics makers.

For the whole of 2009, Canon left its net profit forecast unchanged at 110 billion yen.

It raised its operating profit projection to 190 billion yen from 180 billion but trimmed its revenue goal to 3.32 trillion yen from 3.33 trillion.

"Demand for inkjet printers and compact digital cameras is expected to remain stagnant for the time being due to the drop in consumer sentiment resulting from the weak economy, whereas demand for digital SLR cameras is expected to remain strong," the statement said.

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