Panasonic forecasts decade's highest loss of 420 billion

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp has forecast an annual net loss of 420 billion yen, which is its highest in a decade, with restructuring costs having ballooned, coupled with a soaring yen and weak demand in the US and Europe.

Panasonic speeded up its restructuring in a bid to shake off losses at its TV unit and is now looking to strip out overlapping businesses after its buyout of Sony subsidiary Sanyo. 

Panasonic announced in April that it would cut 17,000 jobs by March 2013, but the maker of Viera televisions and Lumix cameras announced yesterday, it would likely reach its goal of slimming its work force to 350,000 or fewer a year ahead of schedule.

According to Panasonic, it planned to stop liquid-crystal panel production at its Mobara plant near Tokyo and was cancelling plans for shipping plasma-panel manufacturing equipment to Shanghai to start production there as it planned to make profit on TVs in its next fiscal year.

According to analysts, the net loss of 420 billion included an increase in the cost of restructuring. They say, it had lowered the assumed exchange rates to 76, which gave the company some buffer even if the dollar slipped from the current level after today's intervention.

They also say that even though the company was reporting a loss, the market might think all the negative factors had been priced in, especially given that its share price had fallen about a third from around 1,200 at the beginning of this year.