Tokyo: Hitachi announced Tuesday the biggest ever loss for a Japanese manufacturer and warned it expects to spend a fourth straight year in the red as the recession saps demand for high-tech goods.
Hitachi, a sprawling conglomerate that makes everything from refrigerators to televisions and even nuclear power systems, logged a net loss of ¥787.3 billion ($8.1 billion) for the year to March.
The electronics and engineering firm, which is slashing up to 7,000 jobs, said that it expects a net loss of ¥270 billion for the current business year with little hope of recovery until 2010 at the earliest.
“The company expects ‘very severe’ economic conditions to continue in the first quarter of the current fiscal year,” vice president Takashi Miyoshi said.
The loss is the largest ever suffered by a Japanese manufacturer and the second biggest in Japanese corporate history behind telecom giant NTT’s loss of about ¥835 billion in 2002, according to analysts.
Hitachi said that its operating profit plunged 63.2% to ¥127.15 billion last year and revenue fell 11% to ¥10 trillion, hit by weak demand for semiconductors and industrial equipment.
“Hitachi will spend ¥100 billion on restructuring this year but will not seek government assistance to ride out the crisis,” Miyoshi said.
To survive fierce global competition in semiconductors and electronics, Hitachi, like rivals such as Toshiba, is focusing more on other areas such as nuclear power generation and renewable energies.
“The energy and environmental businesses are going to increase, so we would like to focus our resources on them,” said Miyoshi.
Hitachi said in March that it was replacing its president and splitting off two key businesses.
The group will hive off its auto systems business, which makes products including rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and the consumer electronics arm, which includes flat-panel televisions, into separate companies in July.