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Hitachi sees worst full-year net loss

HITACHI reported a 371- billion-yen (US$4.14 billion) net loss for the fiscal third quarter yesterday as a global slump squelched demand, and confirmed that it expects its worst ever full-year loss.

Hitachi Ltd, which makes everything from home appliances to medical equipment, stuck to its forecast given last month for a 700-billion-yen net loss for the fiscal year through March, a stark reversal from the 15 billion yen profit it projected in October.

That would be 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 ending March 2002, Shinko said.

Hitachi, which has already announced it will slash 7,000 jobs, or nearly 2 percent of its global work force, had a 12.5-billion-yen profit for the October-December period the previous year. Quarterly sales fell 16 percent to 2.26 trillion yen from 2.71 trillion yen in 2007.

The Tokyo-based firm said virtually every area in its sprawling business was hit by the global downturn. A rising yen, which erodes the value of overseas earnings, also hurt results, it said.

Demand fell sharply in a wide range of Hitachi's operations, including computer chips, software services, electric power systems, digital disks, auto parts and fine metals, it said in a statement.

Although Hitachi would scrap unprofitable sectors, review investments and close plants to cut costs, its sales prospects remain shaky.


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