Tue, Oct 01, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Toshiba to shed thousands of jobs in television sector

AFP, TOKYO

Toshiba Corp said yesterday it would shut down or sell two of its three wholly owned overseas television plants in the next six months, shedding 2,000 jobs.

The company, which has already ceased domestic production of television sets, said it will “integrate” its manufacturing facilities in China, Indonesia and Poland by the end of March next year.

Japanese TV makers are struggling with stalling demand and falling prices amid competition from South Korean rivals, including Samsung Electronics Co and LG Electronics Inc.

Toshiba is expanding in semiconductors, medical systems and energy amid falling sales of LCDs and ¥100 billion (US$1.02 billion) of TV losses in the past two years.

“In TVs, it’s difficult to compete against the South Korean makers and Toshiba wasn’t able to add extra value to its TVs,” said Tsunenori Ohmaki, an analyst at Tachibana Securities Co in Tokyo. “It’s positive for Toshiba to take action before losing more money.”

The company has not officially decided which one should survive, a Toshiba spokesman said, adding two of the three plants would be sold or shut down.

The Nikkei Shimbun reported the Indonesian factory could stay because of its high production efficiency.

The structural reform will halve Toshiba’s global workforce for visual products business, including LCD TVs and Blu-ray recorder and players, from 6,000 at the end of March this year to an expected 3,000 by the end of March next year.

Of the lost jobs, 2,000 jobs will be abroad while 1,000 will be in Japan, the spokesman said.

The 1,000 workers in Japan will be relocated within the Toshiba group.

The Toshiba group currently has four TV manufacturing bases, including a joint venture in Egypt.

“Toshiba will focus on emerging markets including Asia, the Middle East and Africa, where growth in demand is expected,” the company said in a statement.

It will end sales of visual products in unprofitable regions, mostly Central and South America, excluding Brazil and Mexico.

The company last month forecast operating profit will double in three years, rising to ¥400 billion in the 12 months ending March 2016 from ¥194 billion last fiscal year. Toshiba forecast sales of ¥7 trillion in the year ending March 2016.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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