TOKYO Nov 7 Nikon Corp cut its
full-year unit sales forecast for high-end cameras for the
second quarter in a row on Thursday, as a dramatic fall in
demand among photography hobbyists that began last year
accelerated faster than expected.
The company posted a 41 percent drop in operating profit to
21.9 billion yen ($222 million) for the six months ended
September, saying overseas demand for pricy single-lens reflex
models had remained depressed.
It cut its unit sales projection for interchangeable lens
cameras to 6.20 million from a previous forecast of 6.55
million, which had predicted the first fall in sales of the
format since Nikon's first digital SLR in 1999.
A sharp downturn in the single-lens reflex camera market
this year has come as a blow to companies such as Nikon and
market leader Canon Inc, after the shrivelling of the
compact camera market as consumers switched to smartphones for
taking photos. Nikon's imaging unit's operating profit slid 26
percent in the first half to 30.9 billion yen.
Nikon also cut its sales forecast for steppers,
multi-million dollar lithography machines that are a vital part
of the semiconductor manufacturing process, to 36 from an
earlier forecast of 37 machines, saying it had felt the impact
of a drop in capex among chipmakers. Operating profit in its
precision instruments unit fell 48.2 percent to 3.7 billion yen.
The Japanese firm now claims less than a fifth of the
market, down from less than 40 percent a decade ago, as Dutch
rival ASML Holdings NV has gained a share of over 80
($1 = 98.6500 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Sophie Knight; Editing by Stephen Coates)