In the wake of a relatively strong Q3, Canon today unveiled a slightly less rosy earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2011. Net sales for the quarter reached ¥964.8 billion (about $12.6 billion), up from the ¥916 billion the company reported last quarter, but down about 9.7 percent from Q4 2010. Quarterly operating profit, meanwhile, rose 14.2 percent on the year, to ¥94.6 billion ($1.2 billion). Profit for the full fiscal year, however, declined by 2.4 percent to ¥378.1 billion (approximately $4.9 billion), compared with the ¥387.6 billion ($5.1 billion) Canon raked in for all of 2010. Net income, on the other hand, rose by nearly 14 percent over Q4 2010 (¥61.4 billion from ¥54 billion), but only 0.8 percent over the full fiscal year (¥248.6 billion in FY 2011, ¥246.6 billion in FY 2010).

Looking forward to 2012, the cameramaker expects net income to increase to ¥250 billion, which would mark the second straight year of less than one percent growth. This forecast is lower than what many analysts expected, though Canon based its projections on assumptions that the yen will continue to rise against both the dollar and the euro, making Japanese exports more expensive in Western markets. It was against this backdrop of disappointment that company president and COO Tsuneji Uchida announced his resignation today, effective March 29th. The 70-year-old Uchida will be replaced by 76-year-old chairman Fujio Mitarai, with Uchida slipping into an advisory role. Coming off a year that saw a devastating tsunami in Japan and supply chain disruptions in flood-ravaged Thailand, Canon underscored its cautious outlook for 2012, in a statement: "The future remains increasingly uncertain amid growing concern over a global economic slowdown." Find Canon's full report at the source link, below.