The following includes questions and answers at the conference for the financial results for First Quarter of the Year Ending March 31, 2011.
Precision Equipment Business
Q. What is the outlook for the market of IC/LCD steppers and scanners?
A. IC and liquid crystal panel manufacturers are currently expressing a strong desire for further capital investment and orders have continued to grow steadily since our previous report in May. We aim to maintain steady business expansion while paying due attention to the end price trends in products including DRAM and LCD panels etc. Although there is still a level of uncertainty in market for IC steppers and scanners for the fiscal year ending March 2013, we anticipate continued growth for the fiscal year ending March 2012.
Q. What can you tell us about the NSR-S620D ArF immersion scanner?
A. At present, we have been clearing the steps of development for full performance of equipment that effectively meets the production requirements of the semiconductor manufacturers. Business talks and orders, including a number of new bulk orders, are driving up orders and sales and we expect the sales ranging in the high 30 unit mark in the upcoming fiscal period.
Q. How are Precision Equipment business earnings?
A. The market showed signs of recovery in this 1Q period and sales increased by close to 50% on the back of increased sales of IC/LCD steppers and scanners allowing us to significantly reduce our operating losses. As a result of rapid improvement over the last several months in this market, increased sales besides improved service earnings and the advantage of structural reforms have allowed us to revise up our sales and operating profits for the current fiscal year.
Imaging Products Business
Q. What can you tell us about the digital camera market?
A. In the digital SLR camera market, following the fact that sales in this 1Q period of all regional markets grew steadily and exceeded sales of the same period in the previous fiscal year, we revised our annual market forecast to 12.2 million units, 200,000 units up on our initial market forecast of 12 million units. In the compact digital camera market, sales volumes on the whole have increased on a year-over-year basis. Therefore we have revised our market forecast upward by 5 million units from 105 million to 110 million units.
Q. How are Imaging Products business earnings?
A. In this 1Q period, sales for all product categories of digital SLR cameras, interchangeable lenses and compact digital cameras have been strong and we have recorded an increase both in sales and profit compared to the corresponding quarter in the previous year despite negative impact of a strong Japanese yen. On the basis of healthy sales of this 1Q period, we have made an upward adjustment of our annual unit sales forecasts compared to our previous forecast. However, we have maintained our current annual sales forecasts unchanged due to the large impact of the depreciation of the Euro and the appreciating Yen as well as current uncertain economic outlook in the second half of the fiscal year.