Pioneer Finally Delivers A Profit
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Shares of Pioneer had their biggest gain in three years after Japan’s third-biggest maker of plasma televisions reported a profit of $12 million, its first in four quarters.

Pioneer’s stock rose 5.4 percent after gaining as much as 7.1 percent. The percentage move is the third biggest on the MSCI World Index in Asian trading.

“They benefited from strong demand for flat-panel TVs during the holiday season sales period and other external factors, but it will still take some time for them to be truly competitive,” said Koichi Hariya, an analyst at Mizuho Securities Co. in Tokyo. In Australia Pioneer is performing well and is now looking to diversify into distribution of non Pioneer brands. Several Pioneer executives attended the recent CES show in Las Vegas looking for products to distribute in Australia.

Global revenue was bolstered by sales of plasma display televisions and by car audio and electronics equipment the company said. The weaker yen also helped push up operating profit by 1.5 billion yen, the company said in the statement.

Pioneer in December named a new president and said it’s eliminating 600 jobs, in addition to 2,000 job cuts announced in March last year, to stem losses. The company left unchanged its full-year forecast for a 87 billion yen record loss

Although sales of DVD recorders and players declined in the company’s consumer electronics segment, plasma-display sales rose by about 30 percent, mainly due to higher sales in Australia, North America and Europe, with stronger demand primarily for high-resolution models. I

  The company’s home electronics business improved its operating loss for the third quarter, ended Dec. 31, coming in at a negative $14.8 million, compared with a loss of $24 million in the same quarter in 2004.

In Pioneer’s car electronics business, third-quarter sales jumped 21.7 percent, hitting $722.2 million, compared with a year-on-year $593.5 billion. The company posted higher car-audio product sales in both its consumer and OEM markets with consumer sales expanding in Australia.  Operating income for the period nearly tripled in the quarter, increasing to $42.8 million from $15.4 million, supported by higher gross profit due to sales growth, although the cost-of-sales ratio deteriorated due to falling prices of core products.

However, consolidated net income was down over 21 percent in the nine months, to $11.9 million from $15.2 million, due mainly to the impact of a foreign exchange loss and higher income taxes.

In the nine months, consolidated revenue rose 6.7 percent to $4.9 billion from $4.6 billion. Pioneer reported an operating loss of $96.7 million for the period, compared with operating income of $129.5 million in the first nine months of 2004. Net loss for the nine months was $482.4 million, compared with net income of $56.2 million year-over-year.