NEC to take $US480M six-month loss

Computer giant NEC will be hit with a multibillion-yen loss when the company releases its mid-year fiscal report expected later this month, according to a report in a leading business daily yesterday.

Japan's largest PC maker will post a 50 billion yen ($US480 million) loss for the period spanning March 31 to September 30, 1999, the first half of the company's fiscal year, said a report in yesterday's Nikkei Shimbun paper.

A spokesman at NEC called the report of the loss an "estimate" and said that his company is not confirming any first-half results at this time. NEC is expected to make a statement on its business performance either at the end of this month or the beginning of October.

Today's report follows hard on the heels of news last week which suggested that the Japanese company is planning a major reorganisation, liquidating its NEC Home Electronics subsidiary to focus more on semiconductors, computers and communications equipment.

The NEC spokesman said that the company has decided to quadruple its output of 128Mbit DRAM semiconductors from around two million units a month now to eight million by the end of 2000. The company will also begin production of around 200,000 256Mbit Direct Rambus DRAMs per month by the end of this year, he added.

The decision to ramp up the company's production of high-end memory chips is unrelated to the Nikkei report on NEC's likely earnings, the spokesman said.

NEC had forecast a consolidated group profit of 25 billion yen for this fiscal year, ending March 31, 2000, after losing 157.9 billion yen last fiscal year on revenues of 4.76 trillion yen.

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