Canon lowers full-year profit forecast, cuts camera targets

TOKYO, July 24 Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:18am EDT

TOKYO, July 24 (Reuters) - Japan's Canon Inc lowered its full-year profit forecast by 16 percent from its outlook three months ago and cut its sales targets for both high-end and compact digital cameras as growth in China and other emerging economies loses steam.

Canon, the world's largest maker of digital cameras, had already seen sales of its compact cameras hit as consumers increasingly use smartphones to take photos.

The company expects an operating profit of 380 billion yen ($3.81 billion) for the year to December, down from 450 billion yen it forecast in April. Analysts' average full-year operating profit forecast is 448.3 billon yen based on a survey of 23 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

For the April-June quarter, Canon's operating profit rose 6.2 percent to 98.3 billion yen, exceeding the 95.9 billion yen average profit forecast from seven analysts.

Canon's shares have risen about 40 percent during an eight-month rally fuelled by the reflationary economic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, underperforming a 70 percent rise in Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei average but outpacing a 26 percent gain for rival camera maker Nikon Corp.

Canon closed 0.3 percent higher on Wednesday before the earnings announcement, compared with the Nikkei's 0.3 percent decline.