Panasonic to post 350 billion yen loss?

TOKYO – PANASONIC Corp will report a consolidated net loss after tax of about 350 billion yen in fiscal 2008/09 due to restructuring charges and weak sales of consumer electronics, a Japanese daily said on Sunday.

The net loss after tax will be Panasonic's first such loss in six years, and the biggest since the firm posted a 430 billion yen net loss for the business year that ended in March 2002, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.

Panasonic is likely to report a net operating profit, but will incur a consolidated net loss due to losses related to the firm's decision to move up the schedule for planned reforms such as the consolidation and closing of factories in Japan and overseas, Yomiuri said.

Kyodo news agency carried a similar report, saying Panasonic's consolidated net loss was likely to total more than 300 billion yen.

Panasonic officials were not immediately available to comment.

Last week, Japanese business daily Nikkei said that Panasonic was likely to report an annual net loss of about 100 billion yen.

Panasonic saw a drop in sales of digital home appliances in the United States and other markets around the world due to a global recession and the effects of a strong yen, Yomiuri said in its report, which did not cite any sources.

Panasonic's net loss also includes appraisal losses on equities held by the company, Yomiuri added.

When asked about the Nikkei report last week, Panasonic spokesman Kunio Ichikawa had declined to comment, saying the company will announce its quarterly results on Feb 4, which may or may not include a revision to its earnings outlook.

Panasonic had forecast a 10 per cent rise in net profit to 310 billion yen at the start of the fiscal year on April 1 after a record profit of 280 billion yen a year earlier.

It lowered its projection to a profit of 30 billion yen in November as the global economic downturn accelerated. — THOMSON REUTERS