Panasonic reportedly exiting plasma TV, healthcare biz

Struggling Japanese electronics giant is reportedly making plans to pull out of plasma TV production and the healthcare business to become more cost-efficient.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Troubled Japanese electronics giant Panasonic is reportedly considering exiting from making plasma TV panels, as part of plans to downsize its TV business over three years starting the next fiscal year.

Reuters reported Monday, citing the Nikkei news agency, that Panasonic's TV business had sales of more than 1 trillion yen (US$10.5 billion) back at its peak in 2009/2010, but would earn less than half the amount in 2015/2016. The Japanese news agency did not cite any sources, the report said.

Panasonic is reviewing its options to cut costs as it looks to revive its fortunes.

Reuters quoted a Panasonic spokesperson as saying: "We are considering a number of options regarding our TV business. But nothing has been decided yet."

According to Nikkei, Panasonic planned to end production of plasma TV panels at its main plant in Amagaskai in western Japan around fiscal year 2014, and had already written off value of production equipment at the location. The company has also ended new development of plasma TVs, as it decided focusing on both plasma and LCD models would be inefficient, especially in Japan where the flat-TV market is shrinking.

Healthcare could fetch US$1B

The news comes shortly after reports on Sunday said Panasonic was considering selling off its healthcare business.

Bloomberg reported that Panasonic planned to sell the healthcare unit to cut costs, as overall company losses mount. and also quicken divesting in non-core business units. It cited the Nikkei as saying the unit could be sold for between a few tens of billion yen to 100 billion yen (US$1.04 billion).

The Japanese newspaper said Panasonic has been cutting jobs and reducing its number of business units as it forecasts a net loss of 765 billion yen (US$8.06 billion) in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.

Panasonic's healthcare business includes hearing aids and devices that monitor blood sugar levels. 

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