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Hitachi records worst-ever loss

HITACHI Ltd yesterday posted the worst ever annual loss for a Japanese manufacturer and doesn't expect the global economy to recover until next year at the earliest.

Battered by plummeting demand for cars and gadgets, Hitachi, which produces everything from home appliances to medical equipment, said yesterday it booked a net loss of 787.3 billion yen (US$8.1 billion) for the fiscal year through March. That was worse than last year's 58.1 billion yen loss.

Annual revenue tumbled 11 percent to 10 trillion yen. But it managed an operating profit - which reflects its core business - of 127 billion yen for the year.

Hitachi's net loss represents the worst annual loss for a Japanese manufacturer, according to Shinko Research Institute Co. It would be the second-largest in Japanese corporate history after an 834.6 billion yen loss reported by telecommunications giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp for the fiscal year ended March 2002.

The firm expects the pain to continue, seeing a 270 billion net loss this fiscal year.

"The global economy... is not expected to see a full-fledged recovery until 2010 at the earliest," Hitachi said in a statement. "The global economic outlook is being shaped by concerns about the US and other industrialized nations slipping into negative economic growth, and about slowing economic growth in emerging economies and the yen's appreciation."


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