• Kyodo

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Panasonic Corp. has reported a net profit of ¥76.5 billion in the April to June quarter, returning to the black on brisk home appliance sales and improved automobile equipment business.

The figure, released Thursday, marked a turnaround in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 from a net loss of ¥9.8 billion a year earlier due to dampened sales in automobile, aircraft and housing businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operating profit jumped to ¥104.4 billion from ¥3.8 billion in the previous year, on sales of ¥1.8 trillion, up 28.8% from a year earlier, Panasonic said.

Operating profit of home appliances such as air conditioners nearly tripled from the same period a year earlier as people spent more time at home during the pandemic.

The automotive segment covering in-vehicle equipment and electric car batteries, one of the key growth areas for Panasonic, returned to profitability with ¥9.8 billion in operating profit after posting a loss of ¥9.5 billion a year earlier.

Panasonic, a key supplier of batteries to Tesla Inc., is ramping up production of batteries for the U.S. automaker.

The company said a new battery production line will start operating in August at its Nevada factory jointly run with Tesla. The Tesla business turned profitable for the first time in fiscal 2020 that ended in March.

"We have entered the phase of reaping profits. There will be no more losses," Panasonic Chief Financial Officer Hirokazu Umeda said in an online news conference.

The manufacturer maintained its full-year earnings forecast, expecting a net profit of ¥210 billion, up 27.2%, and an operating profit of ¥330 billion, up 27.6%, on sales of ¥7 trillion, up 4.5%.

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