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Weaker yen helps lift Canon profit despite poor camera sales

[TOKYO] Japan's Canon Inc reported a slight rise in fourth-quarter profit thanks to a weaker yen and solid office equipment sales even as its camera business struggled to attract photographers increasingly using compact models made by rivals.

Canon said on Wednesday its operating profit for October-December rose to 98.5 billion yen (S$1.13 billion) from 93.5 billion yen a year earlier. That was slightly weaker than the average analysts' estimate of 103.9 billion yen, according to Thomson Reuters data. "Demand for office copiers and laser printers showed a solid trend. Demand for digital cameras with interchangeable lenses, however, slowed down due to the economic slowdown, and difficult conditions continue," Canon said in a statement.

It forecast compact camera sales in 2015 to fall to 7.8 million units from 9.03 million in 2014, and said interchangeable lens cameras to be roughly flat at 6.4 million units.

The company, which earns around 80 per cent of its revenue overseas and is a major beneficiary of a weaker yen, forecast the U.S. dollar would trade at an average of around 120 yen in 2015 compared to 106.18 yen in 2014.