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Fuji Photo profit down on charges, rebound seen

Written by: Staff
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TOKYO, Apr 27 (Reuters) Japanese precision equipment maker Fuji Photo Film Co. said on Thursday its annual operating profit fell 57 percent, weighed down by charges for lay-offs and film production cuts, but it forecast a 14 percent rise this business year.

The world's second-largest camera film maker after U.S.-based Eastman Kodak suffers from a shrinking camera film market, even though that business now accounts for less than 10 percent of its sales. Another hit has come from rising prices of raw materials such as aluminium used to make printing plates.

Fuji Photo's earnings have been supported by strong demand for film used in the production of liquid crystal displays (LCD) and healthy sales of medical devices like endoscopes and computed radiography equipment.

Fuji Photo forecast group operating profit to recover to 80 billion yen (7 million) in 2006/07, although that would be well below the market consensus of 97.8 billion yen, according to 13 analysts surveyed by Reuters Estimates.

For the year ended last month, Fuji Photo posted an operating profit of 70.44 billion yen, compared with 164.44 billion yen a year earlier. Fuji Photo lowered its 2005/06 profit forecast in January to 75 billion yen due to the restructuring costs.

Shares of Fuji Photo were virtually flat during the 2005/06 business year, underperforming Japan's chemicals subindex ICHEM, which rallied over 40 percent.

Shares of Fuji Photo were up 1.3 percent at 4,010 yen in afternoon trade after the announcement. The chemicals index was flat.

REUTERS CS SND1159

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