A brief scan of ye olde Fool archive yields little discussion of Fuji Photo Film
On the other hand, this is a big company, and it's taken a big step forward in profitability. For fiscal 2004, ended in March, Fuji notched a 60% increase in net profits, totaling 82.3 billion yen (or $728 million). That's a pretty impressive improvement, given that sales were up only 2% on the year. The reason was a hefty 0.6% increase in operating margins.
As you might guess, digital-imaging revenues outpaced film sales in the firm's traditional business line. (Eastman Kodak
Fuji's most profitable segment, however, is "information solutions," which got a big bounce last year due to the increasing popularity of LCD screens and televisions. Fuji produces an array of films used in manufacturing the devices, and it sold 30% more of the stuff last year. Apparently, the firm sees a big future for these materials, as it has plans to quintuple capacity by the end of 2005.
Management predicts flat earnings for next year, but if you enjoy the challenge of following big, diverse companies, you may want to give Fuji a look. The balance sheets are clean, with four times as much cash as debt, and last year saw $1.15 billion in free cash flow. With leadership positions in digital photography and panel TVs, Fuji is well positioned to take advantage of current technology trends.
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