Tokyo: Japan’s Canon Inc said its fourth quarter profit more than doubled as brisk digital camera sales more than offset sluggish demand for copiers, and forecast its first annual profit growth in three years.
October-December operating profit at Canon, the world’s largest digital camera maker ahead of Sony Corp, was ¥92.13 billion ($1.03 billion) versus ¥35.83 billion a year earlier. It was the company’s first year-on-year profit gain in nine quarters.
Canon enjoyed strong sales of its single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras, a high-end model with interchangeable lenses, but demand for copiers and printers has yet to strongly revive as businesses worldwide curb spending on office machines.
For 2010, Canon said it expects its operating profit to rise 52% to ¥330 billion, beating the consensus for a profit of ¥319.8 billion in a poll of 21 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares in Canon, which competes with Xerox Corp and Ricoh Co Ltd in copiers and printers, closed down 2.8% before the announcement. The Tokyo market’s electrical machinery index fell 1.6%.