*NEWS*CANON ENTERS TV MARKET

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*NEWS*CANON ENTERS TV MARKET

 user 2006-05-15 at 10:29:00 am Views: 74
  • #15429

    Canon Names Uchida President as It Enters TV Market
    May
    06 — Canon Inc., the world’s biggest maker of copiers and digital
    cameras, named Tsuneji Uchida as its first new president in a decade as
    the company enters the $85 billion flat-panel television market.

    Uchida,
    64, replaces Fujio Mitarai, who will head Japan’s biggest business
    lobby after overseeing a sevenfold increase in profit during his
    10-year tenure. The changes are effective May 23. Tokyo-based Canon’s
    market value of $68 billion makes it Japan’s second-largest
    manufacturer after Toyota Motor Corp.“Sooner or later, printers and
    copiers will become commodities, and Uchida will face challenges to
    keep up margins,” said John Yang, an equity analyst at Standard &
    Poor’s in Tokyo who has a “strong buy” rating on Canon. “He needs to
    keep up or exceed the 10-year legacy of Mitarai. He will have to
    balance out spending to keep double-digit margins.”Uchida, head of a
    screen-making venture with Toshiba Corp., is spearheading Canon’s foray
    into the flat-TV market to compete against Matsush*ta Electric
    Industrial Co. and Sony Corp. His challenge will be to realize
    Mitarai’s $50 billion sales target for 2010 with the display business,
    acquisitions and cost cuts.“The one thing lacking at Canon right now
    is the screen where we can watch high-quality images from our cameras
    and printers,” Uchida said at a Tokyo news conference today.The
    company also announced today it will split its stock 3- for-2 and plans
    to raise its second-half dividend to 60 yen from 50 yen. Canon now
    plans to pay a 110 yen dividend for the year ending Dec. 31, compared
    with 100 yen for the previous year.Shares of Canon, which have risen 23
    percent this year compared with a 3.7 percent gain in Japan’s benchmark
    Topix index, fell 40 yen to 8,500 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
    Overtook Sony
    An
    engineering graduate of Kyoto University, Uchida joined Canon in 1965.
    He was promoted to senior vice president in January. He will also
    assume the title of chief operating officer.Uchida, who was head of
    Canon’s camera unit, oversaw the launch of IXY compact digital cameras
    and helped the company overtake Sony as the world’s biggest digital
    camera seller two years ago.The Toshiba venture is developing a new
    screen technology called surface-conduction electron-emitter display
    that offers greater clarity and uses less energy than liquid-crystal
    displays or plasma televisions.“To spur more growth, he doesn’t only
    have to succeed in SED, but make that another core product of Canon,”
    Yang said.
    Higher Forecasts
    Mitarai,
    70, will remain chief executive officer of Canon and become chairman.
    He succeeds Toyota Motor Corp. Chairman Hiroshi Okuda as head of the
    Keidanren business lobby group later this month.Mitarai, who spent 23
    years working in the U.S., has sold off unprofitable divisions such as
    personal computers and calculators to improve earnings. He also got rid
    of conveyor belts at Canon’s factories to trim production costs and
    improve margins.Canon’s operating profit margin of 15.5 percent exceeds
    Toyota’s 8.9 percent and 2.6 percent at Sony.The company last month
    raised its annual sales forecast, saying revenue will gain 19 percent
    to 4.14 trillion yen. Profit is projected to rise 12 percent to 432
    billion yen this year from 384.1 billion yen.“The next five years is a
    time of expansion, driven by new technologies,” Mitarai said. “That’s
    why I was looking for an engineer to lead the company.