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Japan-Update

Casio targets 20% boost to sales and operating profit

Japanese watchmaker also sees lift from prototype printers

Casio's "2.5D" printing technology, which imitates textures such as leather and fabric on plastic sheets, has garnered particular interest from automakers.

TOKYO -- Japan's Casio Computer plans to achieve 20% growth for both group operating profit and sales next fiscal year by increasing popular wristwatch offerings and introducing industrial printers for use by prototype designers.

Chairman and CEO Kazuo Kashio revealed the targets in an interview with The Nikkei.

The company projects a 9% rise in sales for the current year ending next month to 350 billion yen ($3.27 billion), along with an 11% gain in operating profit to 34 billion yen.

On that basis, Casio would aim for sales of 420 billion yen in fiscal 2018, representing a nine-year high, along with a three-year high in operating profit at 40.8 billion yen.

These goals will be driven mainly by Casio's G-Shock line of watches, known at home and abroad for their durability. The company will releases more commemorative models marking the line's 35th anniversary in April, looking to boost unit sales by at least 1 million next fiscal year to a record 10 million.

Casio has poured resources into advertising strategies to capture demand in China through online sales outlets. Sales spread by word of mouth from one online ad campaign there proclaiming that G-Shocks are too tough for even a gorilla to break.

The company aims to retool watches priced at several thousand yen as well, looking to increase their added value. Such models have remained largely unchanged for some time.

Casio's earnings also should benefit from the company's "2.5D" printing technology, which can recreate a range of textures including leather and fabric on plastic sheets using minute indentations. Casio independently developed the printers and the sheets, both of which are to hit shelves this month.

The product offers wide-ranging applications, and "interest related to automobiles has been strong," Kashio said. Electric vehicles in particular use a variety of switches and buttons, and Casio's printers would let manufacturers create prototypes quickly without using dies.

The company aims to recalibrate its business model so that consumable products like printer sheets will also drive earnings along with durables such as printers.

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