* Operating profit jumps as sales of colour copiers and
* Canon expects 16.9 bln yen boost to operating profit from
weaker yen in 2014
* Still bearish on digital camera sales
(Adds context, details from earnings quotes from executive)
By Sophie Knight
TOKYO, April 24 Canon Inc inched up its
2014 operating profit target on Thursday due to strong sales of
office copiers and printers in the first quarter, and said a
reshuffle of its camera line-up had also helped boost margins.
Canon said office equipment sales rose by 9.7 percent in the
first quarter, helping lift operating profits by 51 percent to a
higher-than-expected 82.6 billion yen ($806.76
Camera sales, however, fell by 22 percent year-on-year in
the quarter, as the world's biggest camera maker struggled with
the prevalence of high-quality smartphone cameras and a
saturation in the high-end, single-lens-reflex camera market.
Chief Financial Officer Toshizo Tanaka told an earnings
briefing that sales of pricier compact cameras had actually
increased after Canon adjusted its camera production and line-up
in the first quarter to meet customers' demand for more
But he said a recovery would take time.
"Determining whether we can achieve the growth we are hoping
for will take some time," Tanaka said. "Things are getting
better in China and Europe, but it will take a while to see
whether that will continue."
Canon forecast sales for digital cameras with
interchangeable lens to reach 7.6 million units this year, a
slight drop from 2013 when the models were first introduced.
"After watching carefully how things go in each market
through the second quarter we will re-evaluate our forecasts for
the second half, our busiest period," Tanaka added.
Canon said in its quarterly earnings statement it expects an
operating profit of 365 billion yen ($3.56 billion) for the year
to Dec. 31, a slight increase from its previous forecast of 360
billion yen. The forecast profit would be 8.2 percent higher
than the previous year.
With four-fifths of its sales overseas, Canon is a major
beneficiary of the yen's weakening over the past year. It said
the slide in the yen, triggered by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's
reflationary policies, had added 56.5 billion yen to its revenue
in the first quarter.
Canon expected the weaker yen to add 91.8 billion yen to its
full-year sales, Tanaka said. He expected annual operating
profit to increase by 16.9 billion yen, if the yen remains, on
average, at 100 versus the dollar and 135 against the euro.
Canon's share price closed flat ahead of the results,
outperforming a 1 percent drop in the Nikkei benchmark index
($1 = 102.3850 Japanese Yen)
(Reporting by Sophie Knight; Editing by Edmund Klamann and