Japanese Tech Stock Weekly Report (6/2 - 6/8)

by: IRG Ltd


• Digital Garage Inc., the Web site services provider, said it had a nine-month net loss of 821 million yen (US$7.9 million), dragged down by increased operating costs and devalued stockholdings. Sales in the period ended March 31 climbed to 29.9 billion yen (US$288.6 million) from 11.5 billion yen (US$111 million) a year ago. Media, Entertainment and Gaming

• Capcom, the publisher of “Resident Evil” video games said net income will rise 10 percent to 8.6 billion yen (US$83 million) this fiscal year, helped by sales of titles for game machines made by Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. Profit in the year ended March 31 gained 33 percent to 7.81 billion yen (US$75.4 million), with a 12 percent advance in sales.


• KDDI Corp. and Softbank Mobile Corp. (OTC:SFBTF) unveiled new mobile phone handsets, with KDDI's models featuring functions to display movies and Softbank's boasting designs focused on female users. With the introduction last week of new handset models by NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE:DCM), all three major Japanese mobile phone carriers have now unveiled their lineups of new cellphones ahead of the summer bonus season. KDDI is set to launch 12 new models from later this month, with eight of them equipped with its Lismo Video function that allows users to watch movies and TV dramas downloaded from a personal computer.

• NTT Docomo and KT Freetel announced that they will jointly procure a 3G handset model from LG Electronics. The handset is LG’s WINE model, which was selected by both companies as an ideal choice for users seeking a simple and easy-to-use, yet stylish, handset. NTT will sell the handset as the FOMA L706ie in Japan from August, while KTF plans to introduce the model in South Korea from September

. • Sometime in July, telecom services venture Japan Communications [JCI] is expected to lease wireless spectrum from NTT DoCoMo for a new type of cell-phone service. The Tokyo company is likely to be the first operator in Japan to offer mobile handsets that can make calls on-thego using voice-over-Internet protocol technology. JCI's service and other mobile VoIP services like it have the potential to change drastically the economics of cellular services. VoIP should mean lower rates for subscribers, especially for long-distance calls. This will be a major feat for users in Japan, where basic monthly rates average around US$60 and are among the highest in the world.

• Sumitomo Electric Industries announced that it has now shipped more than 10 million units of optical transmitters/receivers/transceivers. Optical fiber was widely installed in buildings in early 1980s. As a result, optical LANs became popular in the U.S. At the beginning there were no standards for optical LANs, but the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) established Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI), the world wide standard of 125Mb/s optical LAN with the maximum transmission distance of 2km over multi mode fiber. At that time, Sumitomo Electric was looking for business opportunities through its subsidiaries in the U.S and embarked on standards activity to develop FDDI transceivers.


• Nihon Unisys Ltd. is planning its first foray into the systems market for newspaper publishers and other media companies through an exclusive sales agency agreement with Denmark's CCI Europe A/S for the CCI NewsGate content management system. The two firms signed a memorandum of understanding in March and will ink the formal contract in July. Meanwhile, Nihon Unisys will prepare a Japanese-language version of CCI NewsGate with the intention of beginning sales by September. CCI NewsGate is a fully integrated content management system that can be used by reporters and editors alike to post, edit and revise content, with a log maintained for all changes.


• Advantest Corp. (NYSE:ATE) may report lower earnings this fiscal year as semiconductor makers scale back investment in factories amid an oversupply. Net income at the company slid 54 percent to 16.6 billion yen (US$158.2 million) last fiscal year, while operating profit fell 60 percent to 22.7 billion yen (US$216.3 million). Revenue dropped 22 percent to 182.8 billion yen. (US$1.7 billion) Chipmakers including Hynix Semiconductor Inc. scaled back output plans as prices of the benchmark computer chip stayed near record low levels after falling 85 percent in 2007. Hynix said it will cut spending by about 1 trillion won (US$1 billion) this year.


• Fujitsu (OTCPK:FJTSY) will consider outsourcing and other partnerships to make its chip business profitable. Fujitsu, which competes with International Business Machines Corp (NYSE:IBM), and Electronic Data Systems Corp (NASDAQ:EDS) in IT services, is weighed down by losses in its semiconductor operations and has pledged to turn it profitable this year. Growth in Fujitsu's chip unit is essential, and the firm needs to come to a decision soon on partnerships. It has been a matter of pride to Fujitsu to keep production in-house, but it could cut costs on some small-lot orders for chips by contracting out part of production.

• Hoya Corp. will sell its Pentax-brand portable printer business to Brother Industries Ltd. the first business it has sold since merging with Pentax Corp. The sale price has not been made public. The business, which had revenue of about 1.5 billion yen (US$14.4 million) in fiscal 2007, includes both portable thermal printers and mobile scanners. Brother will take it over on July 31. Hoya merged with Pentax primarily to gain a hold on their endoscope business, as well as other medical equipment. Hoya decided to sell the printer business because it is small in scale and has little relation to the company's optical technologies.

• Casio Computer, a Japanese maker of digital cameras and watches, said it would raise 50 billion yen (US$479 million) through an offering of convertible bonds maturing in 2015. The conversion price of the bonds, which will pay no interest, will be calculated by adding a premium of between 25 percent and 35 percent to Casio's share price to be set later.

• NEC Corp. and NEC Electronics Corp. have developed technology for suppressing powersource noise, which can cause system chips to malfunction. With the new technology, an element with a high dielectric constant is inserted into gaps in the wiring between transistors on a system chip to absorb the noise. The element is created by using a manufacturing technology known as plasma oxidation to form a thin film of tantalum oxide on copper wiring. Plasma oxidation is used in other semiconductor manufacturing procedures and therefore can be introduced easily and at low cost. This approach uses relatively low temperatures, thereby preventing damage to the copper wiring.

• NEC has signed a turnkey contract with PT Indosat in Indonesia for the supply of a submarine cable system to the "JAKABARE" project linking Indonesia and Singapore. The company in a statement said the submarine backbone network will stretch over 1,300 km and connect Jakarta, Pontianak, Batam Island and Changi using NEC's state-of-the-art optical fiber transmission system based on 10Gbit/s x 64 wavelengths DWDM technology. On its completion in the second quarter of 2009, the network will supply capacity of 160Gbps in the initial stage, with the potential to increase capacity to 640Gbps in the future to provide robust, high-bandwidth connectivity to the growing Indonesian market.

• Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE) and Sharp Corp. said sales in China may slow after the Sichuan earthquake dampens purchasing. Sony's camera sales are running 20 percent below estimates and it has scaled back projections for Bravia TVs. • D&M Holdings, the audio and visual equipment maker, said in a preliminary earnings statement full-year net income unexpectedly fell to 1.7 billion yen (US$16.4 million), partly because of the yen's surge in the fourth-quarter period. The company had forecast 3.35 billion yen (US$32.3 million) in profit and earned 2.92 billion yen (US$28.2 million) a year earlier.

• Ibiden Co., the electronics maker, said it plans to invest 30 billion yen (US$289.5 million) to set up a subsidiary in Malaysia to make circuit boards for handsets. Ibiden also said it will spend as much as 10 billion yen (US$96.5 million) to buy back up to 1.36 percent of its total shares from May 21 through June 13.

• Victor Co. of Japan Ltd. (OTC:VJAPY), the maker of JVC-brand electronics said it will shut down a television-making subsidiary in Thailand in January next year.