Business, Economics and Jobs

Japan electronics giant Panasonic posts record annual net loss of $9.7BN


A general view of the Panasonic booth at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 10, 2012.


Ethan Miller

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic today reported a record net loss of 772.2 billion yen ($9.7 billion) for the year to March due to a range of factors including natural disasters, the strength of the yen and the deepening European debt crisis which has sapped demand for the company’s televisions.

According to Agence France-Presse, the shortfall was one of the worst-ever losses reported by a non-financial Japanese firm and comes a day after rival Sony reported a record annual loss of $5.7 billion.

Panasonic said it sales fell 10 percent from a year earlier to 7.85 trillion yen as LCD television sales plummeted 28 percent and plasma television sales slumped 41 percent, CNET reported.

The company blamed the dismal result on electricity shortages caused by Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami last year, supply disruptions in flood-hit Thailand and a strong yen eating into overseas demand, according to the BBC.

The ongoing debt crisis in Europe also hurt sales of Panasonic’s products as consumers in the region cut back on spending. 

Despite the heavy loss, Panasonic said it expects to return to profitability this year with a net profit of 50 billion yen as it reshuffles its leadership and cuts costs, reported.

"Although the company expects some risks to continue, the global economy is expected to show a slow recovery in fiscal 2013," the firm said.

Investors didn’t share the company’s optimism, sending its shares to the lowest level in 30 years in Japan trading today, according to the Wall Street Journal.