By Chris Nicholls

TOKYO: Sanyo Electric has announced its first profit in three years, with net first half profits for fiscal year 2007 of 16 billion yen.

The figure is a 50.3 per cent rise on the same period last year. The company put the rise down to cost reductions and stronger sales of its digital camera and components business.

Much of that growth came from overseas, as sales increased 12 per cent on the same period last year. Sanyo said digital camera and projector sales, commercial air conditioning and showcase systems and ‘favourable’ lithium-ion and solar battery markets helped push profits up.

Sanyo president Seiichiro Sano said, “The first half ended with higher-than-expected sales, operating profit, profit before tax, and net profit. Also, there is elevated awareness globally of the environment, which will allow us greater opportunities to expand business in our aim to become a ‘leading provider of Environment- and Energy-related products.”

Sano also said the company was formulating a new three-year ‘Mid-term Management Plan’. Much of the plan focusses on restructuring the company to concentrate on batteries and solar cells — their most profitable lines.

Asian sales made up 33.2 per cent of the company’s global sales, up from 30.5 per cent the same time last year. North American sales remained static. Domestic sales in Japan dropped by 16.2 per cent, due to a decline in mobile phones and commercial equipment such as industrial kitchen appliances and medical equipment. Sales of white good were also down.

The company revised its second-half forecast as a result, with net sales of 2.2 billion Yen predicted.