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Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. posted its first quarterly group operating loss in 30 years, because of a global slump in demand for technology, the electronics giant said Tuesday.

The consolidated loss for the April-June quarter came to 38.69 billion yen, against a profit of 21.2 billion yen a year earlier, on a 6 percent fall in sales to 1.67 trillion yen, the company said.

Matsushita began releasing quarterly results in 1971.

The firm also reported a group pretax loss of 21.2 billion yen, compared with a profit of 28.58 billion yen in the corresponding period last year. The consolidated net loss came to 19.37 billion yen in a turnaround from a 9.40 billion yen profit a year earlier. Net loss per share was 9.32 yen, the firm said.

The company — known for its National and Panasonic brands — attributed the poor showing to aggravated global market conditions for information technology products, especially cellular phones and related equipment and components, as well as economic slowdowns at home and abroad.

Cost-cutting efforts were not enough to offset the adverse market affects, Matsushita said.

For the April-September first half of the current fiscal year, Matsushita anticipates a consolidated net loss of 45 billion yen, revising its initial forecast made April 27 of a 9 billion yen profit.

The company also forecast a consolidated pretax loss of 65 billion yen on group sales of 3.38 trillion yen, compared with a pretax profit of 18 billion yen on sales of 3.54 trillion yen in the April projection.

The revised sales estimate spells a decrease of 10 percent from a year earlier.

Research unit move

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said Tuesday it will absorb its wholly owned subsidiary Matsushita Research Institute Tokyo Inc. on Oct. 1.

The move is aimed at integrating advanced technology research operations within the Matsushita group, and the company hopes to boost development of technologies in growth areas such as the mobile Internet.

MRI will be consolidated into Advanced Technology Research Laboratories, a research division within Matsushita.

As Matsushita is the sole shareholder in MRI, the merger will have no effect on the parent’s share capital. Matsushita’s performance on a consolidated and unconsolidated basis will also remain unaffected, the company said.

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