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Canon Forecasts Profit to Rise 26%, Beating Estimates

Canon Inc., the world’s largest camera maker, forecast net income will rise 26 percent, helped by sales of single-lens reflex cameras and office equipment.

Net income will probably increase to 310 billion yen ($3.8 billion) this year, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement today. That’s higher than the 300 billion yen average of 21 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The maker of the EOS models is expecting a second consecutive year of growth as demand for cameras and printers returns. Global shipments of digital cameras rose 22 percent in the 11 months through November from a year earlier, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association. The global printer market revived to the shipment levels of 2008 in the third quarter, researcher IDC said last month.

“Single-lens reflex cameras will probably record double-digit growth this year to become Canon’s earnings driver, while compact cameras may slowdown,” Toshiya Hari, a Tokyo-based analyst at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said before the announcement. “Canon’s new printer products will also likely help it boost earnings.”

Sales may rise 11 percent to 4.1 trillion yen this year, Canon said. Operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold and administrative expenses, will increase 21 percent to 470 billion yen. The average of analyst estimates is for 3.92 trillion yen of sales and 474 billion yen of operating profit.

Canon, which advanced 7.7 percent last year, rose 2.2 percent to close at 4,195 yen in Tokyo trading before the announcement. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.7 percent.

Office Equipment

Sales at the office-equipment division, which accounted for 54 percent of 2010 revenue, are projected to rise 9.7 percent to 2 trillion yen this year, Canon said.

Sales of cameras with interchangeable lenses will probably rise 18 percent to 7 million units this year, while compact models’ sales may increase 9 percent to 23 million units, Canon said. Revenue at the Consumer Product unit, which handles cameras, lenses and inkjet printers, will likely rise 10 percent to 1.4 trillion yen, it said.

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