Japanese arm hurts EMI

Unit expects to rebound in second half of year

A lackluster perf by its Japanese unit in the most recent quarter will blunt British music major EMI’s financial results for the first half of the year, the company said at its annual general meeting in London on Wednesday.

But EMI chairman Eric Nicoli said the company expected a rebound in the second half, which would compensate for the first-half softness and keep full-year 2003 results in line with previously announced views.

“Overall, we believe that the strategies we have in place should deliver full-year results in line with our expectations,” Nicoli said. “We have a strong release schedule in recorded music, and we continue to focus on generating profitable sales through effective marketing, tight cost management and high-quality releases.”

Still, the warning about Japanese markets spooked EMI’s already jittery investors. Company’s share price fell more than 4% to 116 pence ($1.90) on the London Stock Exchange. EMI shares have slipped by roughly 17% so far this year.

EMI managed to boost its profits by nearly a third for its fiscal year ended March 31, thanks in large part to a major restructuring effort over the last year that trimmed 20% of staffers and a quarter of the label’s artist roster. Profit growth came despite an 11% decline in revenue for the year.

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