All of the camera manufacturers have been reporting their annual profits over the last month or two, and while we don't typically cover individual company financial results, Nikon's report stands out. That's because, despite a modest 4% drop in revenue, the company reported a whopping 776% increase in overall profit year-over-year.
The report—which compares the fiscal year ending March 31st 2018 with the year ending March 31st 2017—shows that Nikon's attempts to "improve profitability through restructuring" and the release of the ultra-popular Nikon D850 in July of 2017 have led to an impressive year. How impressive? Despite revenue dropping by approximately 3.2 billion yen (~$29 million USD), Nikon's profits managed to jump by more than 34 billion yen (~$318 million USD). This translates into an 8x increase over last year's results, which showed a profit of just 3.9 billion yen (~$35 million USD).
Of course, this reflects Nikon Corporation as a whole, but the news out of the Imaging division was also positive. While overall unit sales fell—due to the continued demise of the compact camera segment—strong demand for the D850 is said to have increased the sales of "high-class" cameras "significantly," leading to a 76.2% year-on-year increase in operating profit. Restructuring helped here, too.
Here's a relevant excerpt from the report:
As a result, revenue for the Imaging Products Business decreased by 5.8% year on year to 360,703 million yen. Operating profit, however, rose by 76.2% year on year to 30,222 million yen due to the efforts to improve profitability through the restructuring, such as the shift to a business strategy of selection and concentration and the discontinuation of operations of Nikon Imaging (China) Co., Ltd., a manufacturing consolidated subsidiary.
You can read the full report at this link, but the short version of the news seems positive, and may even push Nikon to continue focusing on the high-end market that responded so positively to the release of the D850. Does that mean a full-frame mirrorless is that much more likely? We can only speculate... and hope.