Tokyo: Nikon Corp cut its full-year profit forecasts and trimmed its sales expectations for high-end cameras as it suffered along with other Japanese camera makers from a sharper than expected slowdown in China and other overseas markets.
Nikon cut its operating profit forecast to 65 billion yen for the year to next March, down nearly one-quarter from its forecast issued three months ago of 85 billion yen, although this would still be a rise of 27 percent from a year ago.
Nikon, the world's second-largest camera maker behind Canon Inc, booked 6.03 billion yen in operating profit for the first quarter, short of expectations of 9.07 billion yen, the average of seven analysts' estimates according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.
Nikon cut its full-year sales target for single-lens reflex cameras, which are higher-margin, to 6.55 million units from 7.1 million. Demand for the cameras is easing as growth slows in China and other emerging markets, forcing market leader Canon to cut its unit sales and operating profit estimates last month.
Nikon also trimmed its full-year sales forecast for steppers, multi-million dollar lithography machines that are a vital part of the semiconductor manufacturing process, to 37 machines from 38, in a market dominated by rival ASML Holdings NV. Nikon now claims less than a fifth of the market, down from more than 40 percent a decade ago.
Shares of Nikon closed down 1.3 percent before the earnings announcement, in line with a 1.6 percent loss for the benchmark Nikkei average.
The shares, which have swung wildly after the last two quarterly earnings reports, are up a relatively modest 12 percent since mid-November, when hopes for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reflationary policies sparked a stock market rally. The Nikkei average has risen 57 percent over the same period.