From: Reuters
Published May 12, 2008 02:17 AM

Nikon profit up 33%, outlook misses expectations

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese precision equipment maker Nikon Corp <7731.T> said on Monday its annual profit rose 32.5 percent, thanks to sales of its advanced cameras and chip-making equipment, but its outlook missed forecasts.

Operating profit was 135.2 billion yen ($1.3 billion) in the year ended March 31, up from 102 billion yen a year earlier. That compares with a mean market estimate of 135.7 billion yen based on 17 brokerages surveyed by Reuters Estimates.

For the year started in April, Nikon forecasts profit to fall 3.8 percent to 130 billion yen while analysts predict an average 143.9 billion yen.

While hit by a stronger yen, Nikon is coasting on solid sales of its digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras, while focusing on raising profits from its compact cameras rather than seeking market share.

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Nikon is also the world's No.2 maker of chip steppers and competes against Netherlands-based ASML <ASML.O>, which is making inroads in the Japan market for the complex machines used to print circuitry on silicon wafers.

Shares of Nikon shed 31 percent in January-March, compared with rival Canon Inc's <7751.T> 12 percent fall, and Olympus Corp's <7733.T> 35 percent decline.

($1=103.38 yen)

(Reporting by Mayumi Negishi)

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