RCA Corp., today reported that 1976 profits increased 61 per cent to $177.4 million or $230 a share compared with $110 million or $1.40 a share the year before. Sales totaled $5.4 billion, an increase of 13 per cent over the $4.8 billion registered in 1975.
RCA president and chief executive officer Edgar H. Griffiths predicted that 1977 will be another "strong year" for the electronics and brbroadcasting conglomerate and revenues expected to grow 10 to 12 per cent.
Griffiths, in his first session with reporters since he took over as head of the company last September after Anthony L. Conrad resigned for failure to file personal tax returns, acknowledged that RCA in the past "has not excelled in profitability," but pledged that "this is an area in which we will excell" and said that bottom line improvement will come "on an unfolding basis" under this leadership. In response to wide-ranging questions, Griffiths also said:
RCA does not plan to market its home video disc system before 1978, and probably in the later part of that year at the earliest. This appeared to be a delay over earlier plans. RCA is looking at the available programming "software," is close to perfecting a single disc that could play for two hours and be marketed for a little as $12, and also is studying ways to reduce costs on the player system so that it will be price competitive with home video tape systems like Betamax now being marked by Sony which is retailing for as little as $800 and allows an individual to record his own shows.
He is opposed to any U.S. actions to limit imports of Japanese color television sets short of a clear determination that the Japanese are "dumping" the sets on the U.S. market at less than their fair market value in Japan.
He expects RCA's NBC subsidiary to overtake leading CBS in broadcasting profitability but give no timetable.
In the 1976 fourth quarter, RCA earnings jumped 68 per cent to $56 million (73 cents a share) form $33.4 million (43 cents) in the comparable year earlier period. Sales for the three months increased only 7 per cent to $1.5 billion from $1.4 billion in the previous year.
The improved results last year reflected a turnaround in RCA's electionics manufacturing operations, where the company said "an intensive effort was undertaken to lower the break-even point of products and services."