Japan's Hitachi looks to future after wobbly year

Japanese high-tech firm Hitachi said Thursday its operating profit fell in the year to March due to the earthquake and tsunami disaster at home and Thai floods, but it expected growth this year.

Hitachi said its group operating profit fell 7.3 percent from a year earlier to 412.28 billion yen ($5.17 billion) in the last fiscal year, blaming lower revenue from digital devices, the March 2011 disaster and floods in Thailand.

Profits also took a beating due to additional costs for its overseas power generation business, it said. Total revenue rose 3.8 percent to 9.67 trillion yen.

Net profit shot up 45.3 percent to 347.18 billion yen, hitting a record high for the second consecutive year.

The sharp rise stemmed largely from one-time gains from the sale of its hard disk drive business.

Hitachi, whose products range from microchips to railways, has been shifting its business focus to large-scale infrastructure projects.

Its results contrast sharply with heavy losses at many Japanese consumer electronics firms, hurt by the impact of the strong yen and punishing price competition in flat-panel televisions.

Hitachi expects its operating profit to rise 16.4 percent to 480 billion yen in the current year to March 2013, despite a 5.9 percent drop in revenue to 9.1 trillion yen. It forecast net profit to fall 42.4 percent to 200 billion yen.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article --

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