The following includes questions and answers at the conference for the financial results for the Year Ended March 31, 2010.
Precision Equipment Business
Q. What is the outlook for the IC/LCD stepper and scanner market?
A. The IC steppers and scanners market has become strong tone, with sales of about 200 units ? or an 80% increase ? expected during this fiscal year when compared to the same period last fiscal year. ArF immersion scanners are expected to account for about 110 of these units. In the LCD steppers and scanners market, we are forecasting about 110 units ? or a 50% growth from the previous fiscal year - following the resumption of investments by Taiwanese LCD panel manufacturers and full-scale investment by Chinese LCD panel manufacturers.
Q. Can you provide us with information on the development of NSR-S620D ArF immersion scanner?
A. The performance of scanners is increasing at a steady rate, and an increase in stable throughput under customer processing conditions has been aiming at the development. Business negotiations are on the rise, and there has been an increase in positive responses.
Q. How are Precision Equipment business earnings?
A. Customer moves to spend on capital investment has improved for both IC and LCD steppers and scanners when compared to last fiscal year, and accordingly we are expecting sales figures to increase 40% over the same period last fiscal year to 210 billion yen. We forecast a 3 billion yen surplus in the operating profit, mainly due to reductions made to fixed costs arising from structural reforms that were implemented, and also due to the fact that there were no special factors like the drastic write-down of inventory experienced last fiscal year.
Imaging Products Business
Q. How are Imaging Product business earnings?
A. While we have forecast that sales volumes will be greater than the market average, the appreciation of the yen is expected to continue throughout this fiscal year, no doubt igniting fierce competition among Japanese manufacturers, which took a somewhat defensive operating strategy last fiscal year. With these conditions in mind, revenue is expected to increase during this fiscal year; however profit will remain much on the same level.
Q. What is the outlook for the digital camera market?
A. Double-digit growth will continue in the market for digital SLR cameras and interchangeable lenses this fiscal year, while we are expecting growth of compact digital cameras to recover to a slightly positive stance from the minus growth of last fiscal year. By region, developed countries are expected to show a slow recovery, while continued growth will be seen in emerging countries centered around Asia.
Q. Can you provide us with information on capital expenditures and R&D spending?
A. Capital expenditures during this fiscal year lower than the previous fiscal year shows the amount on the acquisition base. It reflects the drastic limitation placed on the number of orders during the last fiscal year. The order base for this fiscal year will increase over the previous fiscal year, and expected to be slightly less than 40 billion yen. R&D spending of 3.5 billion yen was depreciated as a lump sum to apply Japanese accounting standards. It was appropriated as assets by the former Metris NV(current Nikon Metrology NV), which was acquired last fiscal year. After this portion is deducted, the actual R&D spending for this fiscal year remains at the same level.