Canon Q4 profits dive 81% as camera demand slumps

Take a big step back, because Canon's profits are seriously tumbling.  The firm – the world's largest digital camera manufacturer -reported a huge 81-percent fall in Q4 2008 profits, blaming low demand for both cameras and office equipment, together with the increasing strength of the yen. 

Canon were reportedly surprised by a "sudden cooling in demand since the autumn", which has led to even more conservative estimates for camera sales in 2009.  It expects digital camera sales to fall 7-percent from a year earlier to 23.9 million units in 2009.

"A substantial recovery in the economy is unlikely in 2009. Our operating environment will be even harder this year than it was last year" Masahiro Osawa, managing director, Canon

As we've seen with other companies, Canon declined to give dividend forecasts for 2009.  What it did predict was a 68-percent slump in operating profit for the year, to just 160 billion yen ($1.80bn), the lowest in 14 years.  As a result, the company is looking to make make cost cuts amounting to 70 billion yen; it's not yet made clear exactly how those cuts might affect staffing.