Panasonic to pare TV output, jobs

Kyodo

Panasonic Corp. will sharply scale down its money-losing TV business, reducing production of plasma display panels and cutting more than 1,000 jobs, company sources said Thursday.

The leading electronics manufacturer plans to cease production of plasma panels used in some of its televisions at its No. 3 plant in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, during fiscal 2011, they said.

The job cuts will be made through an early retirement program in fiscal 2011.

The company is also considering selling its factory for producing liquid crystal display panels in Mobara, Chiba Prefecture.

Panasonic’s TV business has been in the red since fiscal 2008 and is expected to post more losses this year, battered by falling retail prices for TVs, intensified global competition and the yen’s recent strength.

The company initially planned to invest a total of ¥580 billion between fiscal 2009 and 2012 in the TV business but later cut it to ¥445 billion amid shrinking demand. In April, it decided to suspend investment from fiscal 2011 onward.

Panasonic makes plasma display panels at its three plants in Amagasaki, and liquid crystal display panels at its plants in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, and Mobara.

In fiscal 2010, it sold 20.23 million flat-screen TVs globally and posted sales of ¥997.9 billion.

The latest move follows Panasonic’s decision to carry out massive job cuts at subsidiary Sanyo Electric Co., part of its corporate realignment scheme that aims to streamline personnel and establish a new corporate structure in January.

The company has already decided to implement massive job cuts at subsidiary Sanyo Electric Co. to streamline personnel under a realignment scheme aimed at establishing a new corporate structure in January.