Canon Predicts 14% Rise in Annual Profit Helped by Weaker Yen

Canon Inc., the world’s largest camera maker, forecast profit will rise 14 percent this year amid a weaker yen and the withering of a boycott of Japanese goods in China.

Net income will probably be 255 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in the 12 months ending Dec. 31, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement today. That compares with the 286.3 billion-yen average of 21 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The yen’s decline to the lowest in about 2 1/2 years is helping Canon boost profit even as consumers increasingly use Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. smartphones to take snapshots. The maker of EOS cameras may also see a rebound in China sales after the end of an anti-Japanese boycott that disrupted business in the quarter ended December.

“The China slowdown was probably temporary, and we can expect that sales will recover,” Kunihiko Kanno, a Tokyo-based analyst at BNP Paribas SA, said before the earnings announcement. “Canon can also probably cut prices while the yen is weak to stimulate demand.”

Global shipments of digital cameras fell 14 percent in value in November from the previous month, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association in Tokyo. Shipments of high-end models with interchangeable lenses recorded a 12 percent decline. That followed a 6.6 percent gain in October, according to the industry group.

Canon, which also makes fax machines and printers, rose 2.9 percent to close at 3,385 yen in Tokyo trading before the announcement. The shares have dropped 1.5 percent in the past 12 months, compared with a 26 percent gain for Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

Sales may rise 9.5 percent to 3.8 trillion yen, Canon said. That compares with the 3.7 trillion-yen average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold and administrative expenses, will probably gain 27 percent to 410 billion yen, the company said. Analysts had expected 442 billion yen.

Canon has said it will pay a 60 yen year-end dividend for 2012, along with a 10-yen bonus to mark its 75-year anniversary. It paid out 60 yen a year earlier.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.