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Hoya net profit up, helped by LCD glass unit sale

Post Time:Aug 15,2008Classify:Company NewsView:355

TOKYO, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Japanese high-tech glass maker Hoya Corp (7741.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said its quarterly net profit climbed a bigger-than-expected 24 percent on the sale of a stake in a unit and it forecast a rise in first-half earnings, sending its shares up.

Hoya has been suffering from sluggish demand for microchip-making equipment and digital cameras, but a 9.7 billion yen ($88 million) special profit from the sale of its stake in LCD glass unit NH Techno Glass Corp to private equity firm The Carlyle Group [CYL.UL] helped offset a 3.5 percent fall in quarterly operating profit.

Along with other chip-equipment suppliers such as Tokyo Electron Ltd (8035.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Hoya saw orders slow from semiconductor makers amid excess chip inventory and weak prices.

Net profit at Hoya rose to 21.2 billion yen ($193 million) in its April-June first quarter from 17.1 billion yen a year earlier, the company said on Monday.

The result was above a consensus of 19.3 billion yen in a poll of three analysts by Reuters Estimates.

Following the midafternoon announcement, shares in Hoya closed up 6.5 percent at 2,375 yen, outperforming the benchmark Nikkei average's .N225 2 percent rise.

The company enjoyed brisk demand for endoscopes, which are used to examine internal organs, but its digital camera operations came under pressure from slower sales and price falls.

Hoya bought camera and medical equipment maker Pentax last year, adding digital camera and endoscope operations to its business portfolio, which includes chip-making gear such as mask blanks and photomasks, and digital camera lenses.

The Pentax division posted an operating loss of 38 million yen for the quarter.

Hoya Chief Financial Officer Kenji Ema said it would be difficult for Hoya to turn the Pentax unit profitable on a quarterly basis in the current business year through March 2009.

"We are planning various restructuring measures, which will cost us at first and then benefit us later," Ema told a news conference.

For the six months through September, Hoya forecast a net profit of 40.4 billion yen, up from 38.12 billion yen a year earlier.

Unlike many other Japanese listed companies, which give annual earnings outlooks when they unveil results for the past year, Hoya announces half-year forecasts after the first quarter, and full-year projections in the fourth quarter.

It competes with Olympus Corp (7733.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Fujifilm Holdings Corp (4901.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) in endoscopes, while its rivals in chip-making equipment include Shin-Etsu Chemical Co Ltd (4063.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd (7912.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz). Hoya also offers hard drive substrates, pitting itself against Konica Minolta Holdings Inc (4902.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Hoya's operating profit, which generally shows a company's core earnings strength, came to 21.86 billion yen in April-June, down from 22.64 billion yen a year earlier and just beating a consensus of 21.6 billion yen by five analysts polled by Reuters.

Sales rose 33 percent to 130.16 billion yen.

Shares of Hoya lost 37 percent from the start of the year through Friday, while the Nikkei fell 14 percent. (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Mayumi Negishi; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

Source: ReutersAuthor: admin

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