Canon lensCanon has declined to comment on a prediction by a leading analyst that its earnings are likely to be 27% lower than expected as a result of the Japanese earthquake.

Operating profits at the world?s largest camera maker may drop to 400 billion yen ? 17% lower than previously estimated, according to an article published by Bloomberg news agency.

Masahiro Nakanomyo, an analyst at Barclays in Tokyo is quoted as saying that damage to Canon?s factory at Utsunomiya and the difficulty in sourcing parts will ?likely pressure production of cameras, lenses, copiers and chip-making equipment?.

Last month Canon was forced to halt production at some of its manufacturing plants after power failures caused by the Japan earthquake.

The company confirmed that around 12 employees suffered minor injuries at its lens factory in Utsunomiya which makes Canon lenses and remains closed following the 11 March quake.

Canon expects production to resume at the Utsunomiya plant in ?mid-April?, according to an update posted on Canon?s website yesterday.

A Canon spokesman told Amateur Photographer that there was ?no comment available? on the Bloomberg article.