Hoya to seek digital camera alliance

* Digicam business not self-sustainable in long term

* Sees 2009/10 sales exceeding Y400 bln vs consensus Y398 bln

* Shares end down 1 pct following comments; Nikkei up 0.2 pct

(Adds quotes, details, closing share price)

By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Reiji Murai

TOKYO, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Japanese high-tech glass maker Hoya Corp 7741.T said it aims to turn its Pentax operations profitable in the year to March 2010, but that its digital camera business needs to seek alliances for survival in the long term.

Hoya acquired Pentax in 2007 for $1 billion to add endoscopes and digital cameras to its product portfolio, which includes LCD photomasks, hard disk drive components, eye glass lenses and contact lenses.

Hoya’s Pentax unit posted an operating loss of 11.6 billion yen ($122.3 million) in the year ended March 31, hit by restructuring costs and a sluggish digital camera market.

“Our digital camera business is not exactly a big operation. There are naturally questions among us whether it is big enough to go it alone,” Hoya Chief Executive Hiroshi Suzuki told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

“I’m afraid it will need some sort of alliance with another company in the long term.”

Hoya sold 2.3 million digital cameras last business year. That is less than a 10th of Canon Inc's 7751.T sales of 25.6 million units in calendar 2008.

Hoya’s revenues in the business year to next March are likely to exceed 400 billion yen, Suzuki said, compared with a consensus figure from analysts in a Reuters poll of 398 billion yen. Suzuki said he aims to turn Pentax operations profitable in the current financial year as the company presses ahead with cost-cutting.

Shortly after Suzuki's comments, shares in Hoya closed down 1 percent at 2,060 yen, underperforming the benchmark Nikkei average .N225, which gained 0.2 percent.

($1=94.82 Yen)

(Editing by Michael Watson)

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