Panasonic to Cut 15,000 Jobs

Will close 27 plants

As it braces to fall deep in the red due to the global economic crisis, Panasonic Corp. said on Feb. 4 it was cutting 15,000 jobs and closing dozens of plants worldwide. The company expects a net loss of 380 billion yen (US$4.2 billion) in this financial year to March.

The group will shut 27 plants by the end of March and expects further closures next year, a Panasonic director, Makoto Uenoyama, said. "We expect to close about 20% of our 239 outlets worldwide," he said. "The next fiscal year could be tougher than this year."

About half of the 15,000 job cuts, which will be completed by March 2010, will be in Japan and the rest overseas, Uenoyama said. Both temporary and regular workers will be affected.

The company said there was no change to its plan to buy struggling rival Sanyo Electric Co. for up to nine billion dollars.

Panasonic has enjoyed brisk sales of plasma televisions, mobile telephones and digital cameras in recent years, but it has not escaped the industry turmoil sparked by the global economic crisis. "Now is a once-in-a-century situation," Uenoyama said. "In order to overcome this situation, we will carry out restructuring more than ever. We hope to recover faster than any other company."

Panasonic aims to cut costs by 100 billion yen this year to March, but needs further savings of 200 billion yen next year to return to profit, he said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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