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Panasonic Corp. said Friday it expects to return to the black in fiscal 2010 for the first time in three years as it counts on an increase in television sales backed mainly by robust demand in emerging markets.

For the current financial year through next March, Panasonic projects a net profit of ¥50 billion. It also anticipates an operating profit of ¥250 billion, up 31.3 percent, on sales of ¥8.8 trillion, up 18.6 percent.

Panasonic, the world’s top maker of plasma display TVs, said it expects to sell 21 million flat-panel TVs — including plasma and liquid crystal display — during the year, compared with 15.84 million units sold in fiscal 2009.

Panasonic executive officer Hideaki Kawai told reporters the company expects to stem the decline in TV prices through its recent launch of 3-D TVs, which are priced higher than normal models.

“Emerging countries are expanding faster than expected . . . so we anticipate an overall steady though moderate (economic) recovery,” Kawai said at a news conference in Tokyo.

Though Panasonic, which turned Sanyo Electric Co. into a subsidiary late last year, posted a net loss of ¥103.47 billion on restructuring costs in fiscal 2009, this was sharply lower than the previous year’s loss of ¥378.96 billion.

Its operating profit jumped 161.3 percent from the previous year to ¥190.45 billion on sales of ¥7.42 trillion, down 4.5 percent.

Kawai said TV sales jumped about 20 percent in Japan thanks to the government’s Eco-point program, which rewards the purchase of energy-efficient home appliances like TVs, air conditioners and refrigerators.

Toshiba in the black

Toshiba Corp. said Friday it swung back into the black on a group operating basis in fiscal 2009 as the semiconductor division reduced an operating loss substantially on robust memory sales.

In the year that ended in March, consolidated operating profit totaled ¥117.19 billion against the previous year’s loss of ¥250.19 billion, while group sales fell 4.1 percent to ¥6.38 trillion. Group net loss narrowed to ¥19.74 billion from ¥343.56 billion.

Toshiba skipped the dividend for fiscal 2009 after paying ¥5 per share the previous year.

All its four major divisions improved profitability despite falling sales.

In particular, the electronic device division cut its operating loss by ¥299 billion to ¥24.2 billion, while sales fell 1 percent to ¥1.31 trillion. The infrastructure equipment division, which handles nuclear power generation devices, expanded its operating profit by ¥23.1 billion to ¥136.3 billion.

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