Solar weighs on Kyocera figures

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With Japanese electronics giant Kyocera releasing its first quarter results yesterday, its solar business was mentioned in the update for all the wrong reasons.

A fall in the price of modules and a steep drop-off in utility scale solar projects in Japan – which the company says tend to arrive in the second quarter, July-to-September, period – were cited as the reasons behind falls in sales and operating profits at the company’s Applied Ceramics Products Group, which includes the solar business.

And solar was cited as one of the problems in the company’s overall reverses with the end of Japanese government subsidies for residential solar and a rise in consumption tax blamed for dragging down the parent company’s figures and falling sales of all the corporation’s products in its domestic market blamed principally on solar.

Net sales in the Applied Ceramics group fell 12.5%, compared to the first quarter of the previous year, from JPY61.5 billion ($597 million) to JPY53.8 billion with operating profits tumbling 64.9%, from JPY8 billion to JPY2.8 billion as a result.

With solar weighing on results, the company could only point to auto industry linked sales of its cutting tool equipment as a highlight.

Across the group’s seven divisions, sales rose 0.9%, from JPY3 billion to JPY3.3 billion but profit from operations fell 26% to JPY18.7 billion with income before taxes down 11.9% for the April-to-June period to JPY3 billion.

With the optimism in the company forecasts resting on expectations linked to smart phone components and rising global auto sales, as well as plans to launch new telecoms products and increase printer sales in mature markets, it seems Kyocera’s solar business was once again the elephant in the room.