Asahi Glass Cuts Profit Forecast by Half on Writedown

Bloomberg.com reported that Asahi Glass Co., the world's third- largest maker of glass, cut its full-year profit forecast by almost half and booked 75 billion yen ($633 million) in writedowns as surging costs exacerbate shrinking demand.

Profit will fall to 41 billion yen this year from a previous target of 76 billion yen, Tokyo-based Asahi Glass said today in a statement on its Web site. The company reiterated an earlier forecast for full year sales and operating income.

Asahi Glass reduced its forecast for the second time in two months, and the new target would be the lowest profit since 2002. The company will write down the value of factories in North America and book a one-time loss to exit a Chinese operation that makes cathode-ray tubes used in old-style televisions, where demand is falling in favor of new flat screens, Asahi Glass said.

``In North America, profitability of the flat-glass business declined, hurt by price surge of raw materials and fuels in addition to fierce competition in the flat-glass market for construction,'' Asahi Glass said. In cathode-ray tubes, ``demand is forecast to further shrink.''

Shares of the company fell 10 yen, or 0.7 percent, to 1,358 yen at the 3 p.m. trading close in Tokyo, valuing the company at 1.6 trillion yen. The manufacturer announced the revised forecast after the market closed.

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