Fujfilm imaging business able to cut losses thanks to improved sales, still not generating profit

by Felix Esser

posted Friday, February 14, 2014 at 4:56 PM EDT

Good news and bad news for fans of Fujifilm photographic products -- the company reports that its imaging business was able to cut its losses by more than 60% in the final three quarters of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012. Thanks to overall improved sales, losses went down from JPY3.9bn to JPY1.5bn. Although that's still almost US$15m, it has actually helped Fujifilm generate more than 50% more operating income in 2013 as compared to the year before.

Responsible for the boost in revenue is in part the very successful X-series of cameras, which started with the X100 in 2010 and now comprises a number of advanced compacts and mirrorless camera models such as the X10, X100S, and X-E2. Besides a spike in sales of the X-series cameras, Fujifilm's internal report (available as a PDF document here) also claims that instant cameras such as the new Instax Mini 90 have been selling very well in 2013.

Additional factors that helped Fujifilm raise its profits were continuously robust sales of projector lenses and camera modules for smartphones, strong sales of medical devices such as endoscopes, growing sales of the company's pharmaceutical division, as well as an increase in sales of office products in both Asia and Oceania, among others. Overall, Fujifilm was able to raise its operating income from JPY65.4bn in the final three quarters of 2012 to JPY99.6bn (US$978.3m) in the same time period in 2013.

On the downside, Fujifilm is still making losses through its imaging business, despite a solid fan base and increasing sales. So while the company's strategy of focusing on premium camera models rather than serving the low-end market seems to be paying off, its imaging business is still a long way from becoming a profitable subdivision. This situation is similar to that of Olympus that we recently reported about, whose imaging division, despite rising sales, is still unable to generate a profit for the company.

(via Amateur Photographer)