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Japan's heavy industries take hit from flagging big projects

Mixed earnings show mass-produced products offsetting slump for some

TOKYO -- Major Japanese ship and heavy equipment makers reported mixed earnings for the April-June quarter, as companies that make more mass-produced products saw gains, while others grappled with sinking orders for large projects.

Slumps in ship and plant construction orders took an especially severe toll on earnings on an operating basis for Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding and two others. Earnings are declining for segments that handle large projects, with bidders scrambling for scarce orders and driving down the price of winning contracts. Meanwhile, IHI and Sumitomo Heavy Industries logged increases, thanks to their robot parts and construction equipment businesses. Sales of such mass-produced products are rising thanks to the global economic recovery.

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