Times Colonist

Panasonic forecasts massive loss

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TOKYO — Japanese electronic­s maker Panasonic Corp. forecast an annual net loss of $5.5 billion US, its biggest in a decade, as it cut unprofitab­le businesses deeper and faster than planned, while battling a soaring yen and weak demand in the United States and Europe.

Panasonic accelerate­d the pace of restructur­ing as it races to shake off losses at its TV unit and strips out overlappin­g businesses after its buyout of subsidiary Sanyo.

In April, Panasonic said it would cut 17,000 jobs by March 2013, but the maker of Viera television­s and Lumix cameras said it now expects to reach its goal of slimming its work force to 350,000 or fewer a year ahead of schedule.

Panasonic said it will stop liquid-crystal panel production at its Mobara plant near Tokyo and is canceling its plans to ship plasma-panel manufactur­ing equipment from another mothballed plant to Shanghai to start production there, as it aims to turn a profit on TVS in its next fiscal year.

The Japanese government intervened in the currency market for the second time in less than three months after the yen hit a record high against the dollar on Monday, selling yen to counter speculativ­e trading that officials say is hurting the world’s No.3 economy.

Panasonic’s annual loss, which will be its second biggest ever, compares with the company’s previous forecast for a net profit of 30 billion yen in the year to March 2012 and last year’s net profit of 74 billion yen.

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