MCA sole highlight of Matsushita earnings

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. posted lower third-quarter earnings and revenues as consumer demand for its gadgets continued to wane and a strong yen kept its products too expensive in overseas markets.

The one modest bright spot for the Osaka, Japan, consumer electronics conglomerate was its entertainment division, which posted a marginal boost in sales.

Revenue at the division, which consists of MCA Inc., increased 1% to $ 170.7 billion yen or $ 1.5 billion, largely on the strength of “Jurassic Park.” For the first nine months, entertainment revenue fell 2% to $ 440.7 billion yen or $ 3.9 billion. Other than sales, Matsushita doesn’t break out financial results of its units.

For the quarter, Matsushita earned 10.8 billion yen (5.09 yen) or $ 96 million (45 cents per American Depository Share). In the same period a year ago, the company earned 12.3 billion yen (5.77 yen) or $ 100 million (47 cents per ADS) using the conversion rate from a year ago. Revenue was $ 1.7 trillion yen or $ 15.8 billion, compared to $ 1.9 trillion yen or $ 15.1 billion.

For the first nine months, the company earned $ 26.8 billion yen (12.70 yen) or $ 239 million ($ 1.13 per ADS). In the first nine months of the prior fiscal year, Matsushita earned 28.1 billion yen (13.29 yen) or $ 231 million ($ 1.10 per ADS). Revenue was $ 5.0 trillion yen or $ 44.5 billion, compared to $ 5.4 trillion yen or $ 43.2 billion.

Matsushita blamed its problems on the worldwide recession that continues in Japan and Europe, though the company has noticed improvement in the U.S.

Additionally, it said it also suffers from a shift in consumer taste toward inexpensive products, a slowdown in audiovisual product sales and the effect of the high yen. To curb the effects of those problems, Matsushita said it plans to change its product line and cut manufacturing and administrative costs.

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