Panasonic To Stick With Plasma TV, For Now…

Mike Wheatley

There’s some good news at last for Panasonic fans, after the Japanese company put an end to speculation that it may shut down its TV business, saying that it would only exit the industry as an absolute “last resort”.

Panasonic plasma TV
Panasonic to stick with plasma TV, for now…

Fans of Panasonic’s line of smart TVs – especially its plasma TVs, which are considered to be among the best in the business – will be mightily relieved at the news, after it was widely reported that the company would shut down its TV manufacturing arm as part of a massive restructuring designed to put a an end to its dismal financial results. The firm is expected to announce a loss of some £5.3 billion for the last year when it publishes its results later this month.

Panasonic has been bleeding cash for the last three years, yet the company announced in a press release last weekend that it’s finally hoping to return to profitability by March 2014, with tentative projection of £349 million in revenues. The company, which has spent the last 12 months eliminating its worst-performing businesses and laying off thousands of workers, further projected a £2.4 billion profit by March 2015.

When quizzed about the decision to keep making TVs, Panasonic president Kazuhiro Tsuga admitted that there was still a “possibility” it might get out of the industry, although only if all else fails.

“We will leave the TV industry as a last resort only,” said Tsuga over the weekend. “We cannot dismiss the possibility, but we will try to avoid it.”

This statement comes following last week’s report that Panasonic was planning to dump plasma TV as part of its plans to scale down its larger TV business. Japan’s TV manufacturers have found the going tough in recent years with the global economic crisis leading to consumers across the world tightening up the purse strings. Things haven’t been helped by the relatively strong yen either, nor the tough competition from South Korean manufacturers LG and Samsung (the world’s top two biggest TV makers), as well as a multitude of lower-cost Chinese brands.

Recently however, the yen has suffered a sharp drop in its value compared to the US dollar, helping Panasonic to boost its overseas earnings. From October to December, Panasonic reported that its foreign revenues increased by some £21 million solely due to the more favourable exchange rate.

Source: Reuters