Toshiba said Tuesday it swung to a net loss for its first fiscal quarter of 2012, citing a weak global economy, continued power shortages in Japan and sluggish U.S. demand for its PCs.
The Tokyo-based tech company posted a net loss of $154.7 million, down from the net profit of $6 million it reported during the same quarter last year. Revenue also slipped, accounting for $16.2 billion compared to last year’s $16.9 billion.
Toshiba did report some good news, though, with its operating income for the quarter hitting $147 million, up pretty significantly from the $52.6 million it reported last year.
Sales across all Toshiba business units were down in the first quarter with the exception of its social infrastructures unit, which includes electricity, water, gas, transportation systems and services to vertical markets. Toshiba said its transmission and distribution sub-unit had an especially healthy quarter, through high sales of power transmission and solar photovoltaic systems.
Throughout the three-month period, Toshiba’s social infrastructure unit pulled in $6.4 billion in net sales, more than any of its other three business segments.
"The [social infrastructures] segment as a whole saw a significant rise in operating income and recorded its highest first quarter result ever," Toshiba said in its earnings press release Tuesday.
Toshiba's electronics devices division, which is home to its semiconductor, memory and storage products, saw net sales drop 8 percent year over year to $3.9 billion. While its semiconductor business was down, Toshiba saw a boost in sales of its storage products and said its hard drive disks sold especially well, a sign that the looming effects of October’s Thailand floods have started to lift.
The company’s digital products unit, responsible for its television sets and PCs, took an even heavier-hitting 17-percent decrease in net sales year over year, pulling in $4.34 billion. Toshiba attributed part of this fall to "sluggish" PC demand, particularly in the U.S. market.
In the mobile PC space, Toshiba offers its line of Android-based Excite tablets, including the "giant" 13-inch version it launched in April. To grasp a bigger hold of the Android mobile device market, however, Toshiba has to face off against tech giant Samsung, which has grown its Galaxy Tab and Note devices to become two of the iPad’s biggest contenders.
In the traditional notebook and desktop market, Toshiba is the fifth biggest PC maker in the U.S., holding a market share of 8.2 percent, industry analyst Gartner reported in July. It is beat out by HP, Dell, Apple and Acer.
In the worldwide PC market, however, Toshiba was absent from Gartner’s list of the top five vendors. HP and Lenovo dominate this market, holding a combined 30 percent.
PUBLISHED JULY 31, 2012