The following includes questions and answers at the conference for the financial results for the Year Ended March 31, 2012.
Precision Equipment Business
Q. What is the outlook for the market of IC/LCD steppers and scanners?
A. As a result of reduced capital investment, we predict a 23% reduction in market size, amounting to approximately 240 units, in the IC steppers and scanners market in comparison to the previous year for fiscal 2012. In regards to the LCD steppers and scanners market, we are predicting a 45% reduction in market size compared to the previous year, amounting to approximately 60 units, due to a fall in demand for large-size panels for large-screen televisions and reduced capital investment for smartphone panels. We expect to see a slight recovery in the market for IC steppers and scanners from the latter half of the current period and although we still receive inquiries for medium-sized and smaller panels, we don't expect to see any real improvement in the market for LCD steppers and scanners until the end of the current period through to the first half of next fiscal year.
Q. What can you tell us about the new NSR-S621D ArF immersion scanner and the NSR-S320F ArF scanner?
A. We are receiving good evaluation from our plant in connection with the newly released NSR-S621D ArF immersion scanner and we believe that further validation of its capabilities in our customer's production processes will lead to stronger sales in the future. As the platform for the new NSR-S320F ArF scanner is based on immersion scanners for double patterning, it boasts extremely high overlay accuracy with competitiveness. Hereafter, we aim to obtain new customer orders of this product.
Q. How are Precision Equipment business earnings?
A. Nikon Precision Equipment sales will fall as a reflection of the harsh market environment revealing a 15% drop in sales and 41% fall in operating income in comparison with the previous fiscal year. Although sales and operating income look tight for the first half period, full scale sales for our new and highly-competitive NSR-S621D ArF immersion scanner and NSR-S320F ArF scanner should generate an improvement in both sales and operating income over the second half period.
Imaging Products Business
Q. What is the outlook for the digital camera market?
A. The current market for digital cameras is characterized by economic uncertainty in advanced countries and sluggish growth in emerging countries. However we do expect to see some growth as a result of new demand for Non-reflex cameras. Our digital SLR camera production have fully recovered from the damage suffered in the recent floods in Thailand and this combined with the growing market for Non-reflex cameras should see an increase just under the 20% mark in the market for digital camera with interchangeable lenses and interchangeable lenses. In regards to the compact digital camera market, we are predicting the market will drop slightly in comparison to the previous fiscal year on the back of the year-on-year fall in the US and European markets and the growth slowdown in markets in emerging countries.
Q. What is the outlook for the Non-reflex camera market?
A. With the inclusion of Japan and Hong Kong, in which Non-reflex cameras already account for approximately half of total digital camera with interchangeable lenses sold, the release of the new Nikon 1 series has resulted in a gradual increase in the percentage of Non-reflex cameras in other regions from the first half through to the latter half period of the previous fiscal year. We will aim to expand our market share with a focus on overseas markets in which Non-reflex cameras is expected to gradually grow to a point where it exceeds that of digital SLR cameras.
Q. How are Imaging Products business earning for the current period?
A. We are planning for sales volume to grow in excess of the market for the current period. Sales of digital SLR cameras should restore to increase and we are looking to increase sales of digital camera with interchangeable lenses and interchangeable lenses by just under 50% and 40% respectively compared to the previous fiscal year. Although the compact digital camera market is showing signs of contracting, we plan to continue to increase sales and post results slightly above that of the previous fiscal year. As a result, we expect net sales and operating income to exceed that of the previous fiscal year by a significant margin.
Q. What can you tell us about your future advertising strategies?
A. Although we suffered a severe setback as a result of the impact of the floods in Thailand during the latter half of the previous fiscal period, we continued to implement high level of advertising activities. We will continue to channel our energy into establishing the Nikon brand in the Non-reflex camera market and strengthen our existing brand image in the compact digital camera market over the current period and plan to implement high level advertising strategies in order to motivate more consumers to decide buying Nikon products.