The following includes questions and answers at the conference for the financial results for the First Quarter of the Year Ending March 31, 2015.
Precision Equipment Business
Q. What is your sales outlook for ArF immersion scanners in the current fiscal year?
A. In our company sales plan, sales for the current term, similar to the previous year, have been weighted heavily on the second half, particularly on the fourth quarter. Currently, our outlook for the overall market remains unchanged, and there is also no modification to our full-year sales plan since the start of the fiscal year of 18 units.
Q. What is your market outlook for FPD lithography systems in the next fiscal year?
A. An exact outlook is difficult at the current stage, but we expect the overall market in 2015 (calendar year) to exceed the current year (about 55 units) partly due to a recovery of demand for small and medium-sized panels, even though we cannot expect the number of units to reach figures like the previous year (about 73 units).
In addition, although the ratio of FPD lithography systems for large glass plates has increased in the latest market, if high-definition applications such as for 4K and 8K TV eventually grow for large panels as well, we think we can expect an increased our market share of FPD lithography systems, which have a competitive edge in overall accuracy including alignment accuracy, just as in the market for small and medium-sized panels.
Imaging Products Business
Q. Please tell us about your outlook for the interchangeable lens-type digital camera market and the downward revision of the full-year sales volume forecast.
A. Although we started to see signs of recovery in North America, Asia and China in the first quarter, we forecast that recovery of the European market conditions will be delayed due to impacts of economic circumstances and the like.
In reflection of these circumstances, we made a downward revision to our outlook for the overall market as well as our full-year sales volume forecast in the current fiscal year.
Q. What can you tell us about your future sales strategy in light of the market outlook?
A. Since the previous year until the first quarter of this fiscal year, we have implemented rigorous cost cuts as well as measures to improve profit margins. The effects of these efforts are reflected in the operating profit margin of the first quarter.
From the second quarter and onwards, we will carry out measures to secure the sales of the Digital cameras-Interchangeable Lens Type, which are our leading products, while leveraging the underlying cost cuts and profitability improvements that have been made continuously since the previous year.
Specifically, we will aim to ensure sales by introducing new products and carrying out promotional activities based on a sorting and differentiation of target products and regions in which we will focus our efforts.
Additionally, in terms of the compact digital camera market that has been shrinking significantly, we will ensure a continued surplus by promoting the light asset production and sales structure that we have implemented since the past.
Although the market as a whole is inclined toward shrinking, for our medium-term activities, we plan on carrying out market revitalization through efforts such as cultivating the underdeveloped regional markets and creating value driven by new concepts.
Q. Are there any changes to your outlook of turning profitable in the current fiscal year?
A. Both sales and profit have steadily improved year-on-year as planned in the first quarter of this fiscal year, assuming the profit improvements from the previous year. In the microscope solutions business, we will continue to strive to secure sales for our leading-edge products as well as our products for general and research purposes, in which we have maintained a superior position. In addition, in the industrial metrology business, we expect increased sales of our non-contact 3D metrology systems and X-ray inspection systems, and our plan to generate a full-year surplus in the Instruments Business as a whole remains unchanged.