Canon cuts full-year outlook on lean demand for cameras, chip equipment

People are silhouetted against a display of the Canon brand logo at the CP+ camera and photo trade fair in Yokohama, Japan, February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Canon Inc on Thursday lowered its full-year earnings outlook for the second time this year, citing lower sales of single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras and lean demand for semiconductor-producing equipment.

The camera and printer manufacturer slashed its annual profit forecast to 335.5 billion yen ($2.99 billion) from 378.5 billion yen. The revised outlook compared with analysts’ estimate of 375.4 billion yen, according to Refinitiv data.

The lower guidance comes in three months after Canon had trimmed its annual earnings forecast on slower-than-expected sales of flat panel-making equipment.

Sales of SLR cameras shrank faster than expected as some customers held off purchases ahead of Canon’s launch of advanced mirrorless cameras, Chief Financial Officer Toshizo Tanaka said at an earnings briefing on Thursday.

Operating profit for the quarter ended September dropped 12.4 percent to 68.3 billion yen ($610 million), compared with a year-ago profit of 78 billion yen, the Tokyo-based company said.

The company’s profit missed an average estimate of 86.57 billion yen, as projected by six analysts.

Canon, which has a market value of about $41 billion, just launched its first full-frame mirrorless camera - a major shift in product strategy.

The company was initially reluctant to expand its mirrorless line-up, fearing it would cannibalize sales of its flagship single-lens reflex cameras. However, it launched the product after Sony Corp carved out more market share with its mirrorless offerings - popular with consumers as they are much lighter than SLRs.

Canon said the growth in demand for its semiconductor lithography equipment slipped as some memory chip suppliers postponed their investments.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Sherry Jacob-Phillips