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Panasonic loss balloons for record red ink
TOKYO (AP) - Panasonic’s January-March losses ballooned 10-fold to 438 billion yen ($5 billion), completing a year of record red ink at the Japanese electronics maker battered by natural disasters and an ailing TV business.
Panasonic Corp. had racked up a 40.7 billion yen loss the same period the previous year.
The Osaka-based maker of Viera TVs and Lumix digital cameras reported Friday a record loss of 772.2 billion yen ($9.6 billion), a reversal from the 74 billion yen profit a year ago and among the biggest in Japan’s manufacturing history.
Sony, which makes the Walkman portable audio player and PlayStation game machine, had a 255 billion yen ($3.2 billion) loss January-March _ its fifth straight quarterly net loss to round out a fiscal year that was the worst in its 66-year corporate history.
A strong yen has also eroded the value of overseas earnings for the Japanese.
Panasonic is forecasting a return to profit for the fiscal year ending March 2013, at 50 billion yen ($625 million) profit on 8.1 trillion yen ($101 billion) sales, up 3 percent.
Panasonic does not have the entertainment or gaming businesses of Sony. But it is struggling as it attempts to strengthen solar panel and battery operations, including auto batteries, to find new areas of growth.
In a strategy released Friday, Panasonic said it will focus on business customers, not just individual consumers. It will increasingly target global buyers such as refrigerators in China and TVs in India, it said.
The company booked 767 billion yen ($9.6 billion) in restructuring expenses over the fiscal year ended March, to turn itself around, including cutting costs in TV operations.
Quarterly sales slipped 8 percent to 1.88 trillion yen ($23.5 billion). Annual sales plunged 10 percent to 7.85 trillion yen ($98 billion).
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
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