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Matsushita net profit down 81% in 2nd qtr.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., the parent of MCA/Universal, is still weathering the worldwide recession, which is severely undercutting profit margins in its consumer electronics business.

For the second quarter ended Sept. 30, the Osaka-based conglomerate posted a net profit of $ 62 million (30 cents per American Depositary Share), down 81% from the same period last year.

Revenues for the quarter fell 5% to $ 15.11 billion.

As a sign of deep discounting to spur sales, operating profits were down 50% to $ 477 million from a year ago. The stock dropped 3% to $ 83.50 in the U.S. market.

But Matsushita’s entertainment division, which consists of MCA/Universal Studios, theme park operations and music, posted the smallest decline, with a scant 2% drop in operating revenues to $ 1.2 billion from the comparable quarter. According to the company, three films buoyed earnings, including “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Death Becomes Her.”

Only electronic components and communications and industrial equipment divisions showed gains, with the latter adding sales due to portable cellular phones.

The company does not break out operating earnings for its eight divisions.

The company also reported that its video equipment division posted sales of $ 3.2 billion, a 14% decline for the period; audio equipment was off 5% to $ 1.3 billion in sales; home appliances dropped 8% to $ 1.9 billion; electronic components were up 2% to $ 1.8 billion; communication and industrial equipment was up 4% to 3.6 billion.

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