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Canon Quarterly Profit Rises
AP Business Writer

Canon Inc. reported a 16 percent jump in quarterly profit and record annual earnings for the seventh straight year amid strong sales of its digital cameras, copiers and printers.

Canon's group net profit for the fourth quarter totaled 125.6 billion yen ($1 billion), up from 108 billion yen the same period in 2005, the company said Monday.

Quarterly sales climbed 8.6 percent to 1.2 trillion yen ($9.9 billion) from 1.1 trillion yen the previous year.

Also Monday, Canon reaffirmed its commitment to go ahead with a new technology in flat TVs called SED and carry out the business on its own, and ditch the partnership with Japanese electronics company Toshiba Corp.

Canon said it will complete the purchase of Toshiba's portion of that partnership by Monday, and will carry out "the earliest possible launch" of a commercial SED panel business.

SED, which stands for surface-conduction electron-emitter display, will be competing against liquid crystal displays and plasma displays in flat-panel TVs, and some analysts have questioned Canon's ability to compete with a new technology, coming late into a highly competitive sector.

By sector for the October-December quarter, camera sales surged nearly 17 percent on year, while sales of copying machines and other office imaging products rose about 7 percent. Laser beam printers and other computer peripherals jumped 10 percent from a year earlier.

For the full fiscal year through December, Canon marked an 18.5 percent surge in profit to a record 455.3 billion yen ($3.7 billion) from 384 billion yen in 2005.

Sales increased 10.7 percent to 4.2 trillion yen ($34.5 billion) from 3.75 trillion yen the previous year.

Canon is forecasting an eighth straight record year for 2007, projecting net profit of 495 billion yen ($4.1 billion) on 4.45 trillion yen ($36.5 billion) in sales.

The Tokyo-based company said sales for its digital single-lens reflex cameras and compact digital cameras grew. Sales also got a lift from the shift to color copiers and color printers in offices, the manufacturer said in a release.

Canon was helped by a healthy 22.8 billion yen ($187 million) gain during the latest quarter from the weaker yen, which boosts overseas revenues when repatriated to Japan.

Canon shares, which have gained 30 percent over the last year, stood unchanged in Tokyo at 6,500 yen ($53).

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