Q1:Even with the contribution from sales of "STAGEA" during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2005 (FY2005), operating income was ¥14.2 billion.
What are your reasons for expecting an improvement to ¥21.5 billion in FY2006?
A1: We are working to increase operating income by expanding sales and improving the gross profit margin.
Q2:Why were you unable to make much progress in reducing inventories in FY2005?
Could you please explain the relationship between inventory adjustments in FY2006 and profitability?
A2: We saw a rather large imbalance between models that sold well and those that showed lackluster performance. We tried to reduce existing stocks in FY2005, but had to carry some inventories into the current fiscal year. In FY2006, however, we expect inventories to be at normal levels.
Q3:Could you please comment on the reasons for the increase in advertising and promotional expenses in FY2005, and your outlook for FY2006?
A3: There were two reasons for the increase in FY2005. First, in some geographic areas sales rebates were formerly included in the cost of goods, but beginning with the fiscal year under review, these sales expenses were charged to advertising and promotional expenses. The second reason was the implementation of aggressive sales promotion. In FY2006, we are planning for advertising and promotional expenses at about the same level as in FY2005.
Q4:Could you please give us your outlook for the unit volume of sales and prices of LSI sound chips for mobile phones and tell us your plans on a quarterly basis?
A4: We do not release figures on the number of units sold or prices. Overall, however, the number of units sold increased slightly but prices declined, thus leading to a decline in sales and income. In FY2006, we are forecasting a further decline in sales prices, but we think the margin of decline will be smaller because of the introduction of higher value-added products. In addition, although we are working for an increase in the number of units sold, we are expecting a slight decline because of the impact of competition from software and other factors.
Q5:Please explain specifically the factors that may lead to improvement in the profitability of the musical instruments segment.
A5: We are working to improve productivity by introducing the cell production method and taking steps to eliminate waste and production losses. We believe these efforts are meeting with success. Other activities to increase profitability include reducing material costs, standardization, and procuring parts in China.
Q7:Please explain the reasons why you foresee improvement in musical instruments in the European market.
A7: We are expecting a comeback in the European market because of the introduction of new products in the digital keyboard business. Other positive factors include an expected improvement in professional audio equipment sales and the further development of our position in the eastern European markets. Also, we believe conditions in the European economies have bottomed out.
Q8: In the AV/IT segment, was the deterioration in performance in Europe and the United States in the second half due to market factors or to the decline in market share?
A8: In the latter half of the fiscal year, prices showed a further significant downward adjustment in Europe and the United States. As the markets we expected to expand actually shrank, however, we were successful in expanding our market share in the United States in FY2005.
Our plans for FY2006 take into account positive expectations for market performance.
Q9:We understand the introduction of basic computer systems and reductions in costs in the musical instruments segment are behind schedule.
What are the reasons for this?
In addition, we would also like to hear your scenario for recovery in FY2006.
A9: Although we are making progress bit by bit in introducing computer systems, we are about six months behind overall. In the cost reduction area, we have achieved the expected positive results in the electronic musical instruments field as a result of our Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) system and other factors. However, we are somewhat behind in the acoustics field, where adding more value in the production stages is the key to success.
Q10:When are you planning to introduce higher value-added LSI sound chips for mobile phones (128 polyphonic ring tones and other features) in the first quarter or in the second half? What has been the response of mobile phone manufacturers?
A10:We think we will be moving forward with the introduction of 128 polyphonic ring tone units, in tandem with the development schedules of mobile phone manufacturers, but we do not have a specific date at this time. We also believe that adoption by manufacturers of our new units that incorporate audio features will move forward gradually. On the other hand, we are somewhat behind schedule regarding our new image chips for the amusement LSI field.
Q12:Could you please give us your views on fixed costs in FY2005 and the outlook for FY2006?
A12:Fixed costs, other than personnel expenditures, did not increase significantly in FY2005. In FY2006, we are not expecting much increase, either. In addition, we expect personnel costs to fall markedly as the number of personnel and the cost of retirement benefits decline.
Q13:Please provide information on the composition of LSI sound chip sales by type of ring tone for FY2005 and the outlook for FY2006.
A13:During FY2005, 40 polyphonic tone units accounted for more than 50% and 64 polyphonic tone units accounted for about 30%. Going forward, we want to expand shipments of higher value-added products gradually, mainly to customers in Japan and Korea.
Q14:You have recently increased your per share cash dividend by ¥5.
Could you please explain your policies for rewarding shareholders, including dividend policy and share buybacks?
A14:Because we reached the goal of our medium-term plan of eliminating interest-bearing debt two years ahead of schedule, we decided to increase cash dividends by ¥5 per share. Our basic policy is to pay stable dividends. At present, we have not set a target dividend payout ratio, but we want to maintain dividends at a stable level in the medium term, taking into account our growth and cash flow.
Q15:In your forecast for FY2006, you show an increase in consolidated net income but a decline for the parent company. Please explain this difference.
A15:There are two principal reasons. First, the decline in net income resulting from the drop in profitability of semiconductor business is the same for both consolidated and parent company accounts, but the overall impact is greater for the parent company. In addition, the effect of the production adjustments in the musical instrument and AV/IT segments will particularly influence the parent company accounts.
Q16:You have issued a bullish plan for sales of ¥89.0 billion in the AV/IT segment. In the event that sales in fact are level with the previous year, what impact will this have on profitability?
A16:If sales remain level for the year, profits will decline. We do not think we can necessarily say that because products with low margins will be the ones below target, that profits will be unchanged.
Q17:Why are you so confident about attaining an operating profit ratio of 10% in the musical instruments segment in FY2007?
A17:We must move steadily forward to improve the profitability of our manufacturing operations. This is especially important in the acoustics area. In addition, we are focusing on improving profitability in Japan. In our contents business activities, looking ahead, we want to generate a range of proposals for products and services that incorporate media, the Internet, and other fields.
Q18:Do you have some concerns about diluting the YAMAHA brand if you respond to manufacturers in China and Korea?
What will be your policy regarding low-end products?
A18:Yamaha products have won a good reputation for the quality of their playability. Thus far, we have focused on this quality, but we also think design is an important attribute. Our approach will not be to sell everything by lowering prices. We will not develop products that have an adverse impact on the YAMAHA brand.