TOKYO -- Five of Japan's seven major electronic components manufacturers have reported year-on-year gains in group net profit for the nine months through December, benefiting from robust demand linked to advances in smartphone functions and the electrification of automobiles.
Rohm's group sales climbed 15% to 303.6 billion yen ($2.77 billion), helping net profit soar 37% to 34.3 billion yen, the company said Friday. The Kyoto-based semiconductor maker enjoyed stronger demand for chips from the automobile industry.
Alps Electric reported a 58% increase to 44.4 billion yen for April-December. The company upgraded its full-year forecast, which already called for a record net profit, and now anticipates a 45% jump to 50.5 billion yen.
Kyocera raised net profit 27% to 90.2 billion yen.
As smartphones take on more functions, this expansion creates the need for more parts. Alps Electric receives strong demand for parts related to smartphone cameras, while Nitto Denko sees growth in surface protective materials -- used in films for smartphone screens -- and adhesive materials.
"Increasing use of organic light-emitting diode panels [in new smartphones] is creating a tailwind," said Toru Takeuchi, executive vice president in charge of finance at Nitto Denko.
Yet demand for automotive electronic parts also remains strong. Nidec is riding this trend, with higher sales of items such as motors for electric power-steering systems.
"We have been receiving a tremendous number of inquiries relating to electrification of automobiles," said Shigenobu Nagamori, Nidec's chairman and president.
Murata Manufacturing boosted sales by 19% to 1.03 trillion yen in the nine-month period, as the company took more orders for multilayer ceramic capacitors from automakers and others. But higher production costs drove a 5% drop in net profit to 120.4 billion yen.
TDK reported an 8% decline in net profit to 52.2 billion yen, even as sales rose 7% to 964.6 billion yen.
Apple's decision to slash production of the iPhone X has prompted concerns about future earnings for these companies, but officials of the seven manufacturers have expressed cautious optimism, saying the U.S. tech giant's move likely will have only a limited impact on their full-year earnings through March.