Nikon Cuts Profit Outlook on Price Drops It Expects to Continue

Nikon Corp. said camera price declines that prompted it to cut its annual profit forecast will probably continue this quarter amid slowing demand in Europe and weaker than expected sales in China.

“Tough competition for entry-level single-lens-reflex models has led to a large price decline since around mid-November,” Junichi Itoh, chief financial officer of the Japanese manufacturer of cameras and chipmaking equipment, told reporters in Tokyo today. “Demand in Europe is starting to slow,” while business in China was “worse than expected” the past quarter, he said.

Nikon and rivals including Canon Inc., the world’s largest camera maker, are relying more on digital single-lens reflex and so-called mirrorless cameras for growth as more consumers use smartphones for snapshots, undermining demand for lower-end digital cameras.

Nikon net income will probably be 38 billion yen ($405 million) for the year ending March 31, about 37 percent less than the previous forecast for 60 billion yen, the company said today in a statement. The projection compared with the 61 billion yen average of 20 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Nikon also cut its second-half dividend estimate to 12 yen per share, down from 22 yen.

Canon last month forecast profit will rise 14 percent in 2013, helped by a weaker yen and rising sales of its more expensive models.

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