Panasonic forecasts massive loss
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.