Strong demand for digital cameras, printers and faxes helped Canon achieve record sales and profits in 2005, the company said Monday.

Net sales for the year were up 8.3 per cent at ¥3.8 trillion ($31.9 billion as of December 31, the last day of the period being reported) and net income increased 11.9 per cent to ¥384.1 billion.


The company's camera business saw sales rise 15.2 per cent on the back of strong demand for digital SLR (single lens reflex) and compact cameras, said Richard Berger, a spokesman for the company. Its EOS Digital Rebel XT and EOS 5D were particularly popular in the digital SLR category, while the PowerShot SD400, SD450, SD550 and A520 were strong performers in the compact camera sector, the company said.

Demand for all-in-one copiers, printers and faxes shifted towards higher-end models and colour machines, helping its office imaging business record a 2.9 per cent increase in sales. Demand was also strong for laser printers, with Canon reporting a 30 per cent sales increase for colour models.

The company's decision to end PC sales in Japan reduced overall results at its business information products division, which saw sales drop 10.9 per cent.

Growth targets revealed

Looking forward, the company anticipates an even stronger 2006. It hopes to achieve net sales of ¥4.1 trillion and net income of ¥415 billion this year. Those forecasts represent increases of 8.1 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively, on its 2005 results.

The year is likely to see management changes at Canon because Fujio Mitarai, the company's president and CEO, will become head of Japan's powerful Nippon Keidanren business lobby on May 24. Because of work demands, presidents appointed to that post typically take up the title of chairman at their own organisations and leave the day-to-day company affairs to a new president.

Canon didn't announce a new president Monday but it did say that Mitarai would be appointed chairman from May, pending shareholder approval. A report in Monday morning's Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper said Tsuneji Uchida, head of Canon's image communication products operations, would be made president.