Panasonic logs US$7.5bn annual loss


Sat, May 11, 2013 - Page 15

Japanese consumer electronics giant Panasonic Corp yesterday reported a near-record net loss of ¥754 billion (US$7.5 billion) for the fiscal year through March due to restructuring costs and slumping sales, but predicted a return to the black this year as it prunes unprofitable businesses.

The Osaka-based company, which makes Viera TVs and Lumix digital cameras, has been battered by plunging prices, a strong yen, an ailing TV business and intense competition from the likes of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co.

Sales declined 7 percent during the year to ¥7.3 trillion, the company said in its financial results, citing a “severe business situation” in the electronics industry, including sluggish demand for flat-panel TVs.

The company, which lost a record ¥772 billion the previous year — one of the biggest losses ever in Japan — acknowledged that its three-year business plan had fallen far short of the desired results. Under its next three-year management plan, it promised to immediately eliminate unprofitable businesses.

It projected a net profit of ¥50 billion this fiscal year.

In late March, Panasonic president Kazuhiro Tsuga said the company would persist with trying to fix its ailing TV business, describing an exit from the fiercely competitive industry as a “final resort.”

Panasonic said sales of its plasma TV had fallen by about half, while LCD TVs suffered a 3 percent decline.