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Olympus logs 60% profit growth on medical equipment demand

TOKYO -- Olympus on Friday said net profit for the April-September period surged 60% to 35.8 billion yen ($291 million) thanks to the strong performance of the endoscope business.

     The Tokyo-based company's imaging business, including digital cameras, returned to the black for the first time in six years for a first half. The weaker yen boosted profit as well.

     Sales climbed 11% to 395.7 billion yen, with operating profit rising 30% to 50 billion yen. The decline of the yen against the dollar pushed up operating profit by 9.3 billion yen.

     The medical segment booked a profit increase of a little over 20%, as endoscopes for digestive organs fared well. Surgical endoscopes and equipment used for removing polyps and other applications also saw brisk demand, thanks in part to increased marketing by staffers abroad.

     The imaging business generated 20 million yen in operating profit, turning around from a 3.7 billion yen loss a year earlier. While trimming its lineup of low-margin compact cameras, the company improved margins by spending on targeted advertisements for mirrorless cameras in the key markets of Japan and Europe.

     Of seven major Japanese precision equipment manufacturers, Olympus was among the four that booked net profit increases for the first half, along with Nikon, which enjoyed strong sales of chipmaking equipment.

     Meanwhile, Seiko Epson, Konica Minolta and Canon, whose fiscal year ends in December, reported net profit declines due to the impact of China's economic slowdown, among other reasons.

     Nikon upgraded its fiscal 2015 net profit forecast, while Canon, Ricoh, Seiko Epson and Konica Minolta have downgraded theirs. In addition to the sluggishness of digital camera operations, "multifunction copiers face intense price competition," Ricoh President Zenji Miura said.

(Nikkei)

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