Hitachi Loss Widens On Sluggish US Plasma TV Sales

TOKYO (AP) -- Japanese electronics company Hitachi Ltd. said Tuesday its loss widened in the latest fiscal year because of weak sales of plasma TVs in the United States.

But Hitachi forecast a profit for the current fiscal year even though sales are expected to slip.

Hitachi said it lost 58.1 billion yen ($560.5 million) in the year ended in March versus a loss of 32.8 billion yen the previous year.

"While domestic sales of plasma TVs were fine, those sales in the U.S. were particularly sluggish," Hitachi spokesman Masayuki Takeuchi said. The slump in U.S. sales was a major cause of the company's dismal performance, he said.

He declined to give data on U.S. sales of plasma TVs.

Revenue rose 9.6 percent to 11.2 trillion yen ($108.3 billion) from the previous year. Overseas revenue increased 14 percent to 4.7 trillion yen ($45.7 billion), lifted by steady demand in China and Europe.

Hitachi said sales of energy operations, including nuclear power reactors, grew 18 percent to 3.6 trillion yen ($34.4 billion) on rising demand at home and abroad, especially in Europe.

For the fiscal year through March 2009, Hitachi forecast a net profit of 40 billion yen ($386 million), although sales were expected to drop 1.1 percent to 11.1 trillion yen ($107 billion).

Hitachi's earnings results are based on U.S. accounting standards. It did not provide quarterly results.

Shares in Hitachi rose 5.9 percent Tuesday to finish at 719 yen. The company released earnings before the market close.

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