I’m sure everyone at this point has explored the vast array of articles discussing all the technical aspects of the newly announced D850. If you haven’t here is one from your very own Fstoppers writer, Adam Ottke. You can read the announcement here. While I agree with most of the assessments that I’ve read or watched so far in that the camera will be a powerhouse with really innovative features, my thoughts come back to what was in the news just a few months ago. What is the financial health of Nikon? Do they still need help from other companies like Fujifilm? Most importantly, should I invest in new equipment from a company whose financial standing is in question? With all this in mind, I did some research.
There are many ways of looking at the data. If you look at the trend of Nikon’s stock prices over the past year, it has an overall positive correlation. Last year this time the stock (7731:JP TOKYO) closed at $13.66 (1484 Japanese Yen). As of August 28, 2017 the stock closed at $16.62 (1806 Japanese Yen). However, looking at the YTD return is -1.49% likely doesn't help investor confidence. Now as we all know the YTD is based off of the first day of the calendar year, but what’s the percentage of return for investors who purchased last August? Great question. According to Bloomberg’s numbers, it’s just under 21%. Now, who wouldn’t want a near 21% profit on their investment? Earnings per share (EPS) is another great way to look at the profitability of a company, and as of August 28 Nikon sits at -24.5 Yen, which equates to roughly .23 cents of each share loss to Nikon. In other words, with a negative EPS the question arises to the ability to make dividend payments to stock holders. Currently dividend yields sit at only .89%.
Overall I think Nikon can pull through this and be stronger for it. In 2009, Nikon stock traded for a mere $7.92 (860 yen) and they were able to turn it around. With recent orders from NASA totaling 53 D5s, I think that is a strong vote of confidence that Nikon will continue to be a main competitor in the camera industry for years to come. At the end of the day, regardless of Nikon’s financial woes, I still want to get my hands on a D850.