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Ricoh back to profit in first half but says outlook "uncertain"

Ricoh Company reported profit of 11.1 billion yen for the first half of 2021, compared to a loss of 22.1 billion yen for the same period last year but said the economic outlook remains uncertain.

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“The global economy continues to be hampered by COVID-19 pandemic, although economic activities are resuming in some countries and regions due to increased vaccination coverage,” the Japanese multinational imaging and electronics firm said in its report for the half year ended 30 September. “In addition, the economic outlook remains uncertain due to prolonged U.S.-China trade frictions, shortage of semiconductors and other supplies, and stagnation of shipping and other distribution networks.

“In Japan, the economic recovery was sluggish during the half of fiscal 2021 due to factors such as the declaration of emergency and the resurgence of infection, although there were signs of improvement in capital investment by companies. In the U.S., the economy continues to recover in line with the spread of vaccines and financial support measures, however supplies are constrained by shortage of products and logistical problems. 

“In Europe, the lockdowns were gradually lifted during the first half of fiscal 2021 due to increased vaccination coverage, and there are positive signs of a recovery in manufacturing production and improvement in consumer confidence, but product supply constraints are weighing on the recovery. In other regions, while economic recovery is progressing in China, but power shortages and fears of defaults in the property sector have led to uncertainty. Economic activity has stagnated in some emerging countries due to the resurgence of infection with variants of COVID-19 and shortage of parts to produce.

“Sales in the last six months has increased by 10.7% (to ¥843.4 billion) compared to the previous corresponding period. Although business activities were restricted by a number of external factors, including a decline in sales as well as suspension of production lines due to the resurgence of COVID-19 worldwide, shortage of containerships, and product supply constraints owing to a shortage of components, revenues increased compared to the first half of the previous fiscal year, when the expansion of COVID-19 led to a sharp decline in global economic activity.”

Sales increased in all business segments, including Digital Services, Digital Products, Graphic Communications, and Industrial Solutions.

“Digital Products [includes multifunction and wide format printers] sales were ¥7.0 billion and increased by 33.5% as compared to the previous corresponding period. Recovery in production and sales of edge devices slowed due to delays in production from a shortage of parts, COVID-19 in the vicinity of overseas production sites, and delays in transportation from a shortage of container vessels. As a result, Digital Products operating profit was ¥17.1 billion and increased by ¥16.9 billion as compared to the previous corresponding period, thanks to a recovery in non-hardware sales, although profits were squeezed by rising materials prices.”