January 29, 2015 / 12:22 AM / 5 years ago

Weaker yen helps to lift Canon profit as camera demand slows

A man walks on an advertisement of Canon digital cameras at an electronics retail store in Tokyo in this April 23, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Canon Inc (7751.T) reported a slight increase in fourth-quarter profit, with a weaker yen and rising sales of office equipment countering difficulties faced by its camera division.

Operating profit for the three months to Dec. 31 rose 5.4 percent year on year to 98.5 billion yen ($835 million), the company said on Wednesday. That was slightly less than analysts’ average forecast of 103.9 billion yen, Thomson Reuters data shows.

“Demand for office copiers and laser printers showed a solid trend. Demand for digital cameras with interchangeable lenses, however, slowed,” Canon said, citing economic weakness and difficult conditions in the camera sector.

Improvements in smartphone cameras and the increased use of such devices has proved particularly challenging for makers of compact cameras.

Canon said its sales of compact camera are expected to fall to 7.8 million this year, from 9.03 million in 2014. For cameras with interchangeable lenses, meanwhile, it forecast sales to be roughly flat at 6.4 million units.

The company’s overall sales projection for 2015 is for a rise of 4.6 percent to 3.9 trillion yen, with operating profit up 4.5 percent at 380 billion yen.

Canon, which earns about 80 percent of its revenue overseas and is a major beneficiary of a weaker yen, said it expects the U.S. dollar to trade at an average of around 120 yen this year, compared with 106.18 yen in 2014.

($1 = 117.9400 yen)

Reporting by Tokyo Newsroom; Editing by Miral Fahmy and David Goodman

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