Pioneer to Cut 10,000 Jobs Worldwide

Will close plasma display production facilities in the U.S. and Britain

Electronics giant Pioneer Corp. said on Feb. 12 it would cut 10,000 jobs worldwide and quit the television business. Pioneer plans to axe about nine of its 30 production companies around the world and reduce its top management's pay by 20%-50%.

"It's heartbreaking for us to withdraw from the display business, which we spearheaded, but the market is changing faster than we ever expected," said president Susumu Kotani.

The company forecast a net loss of 130 billion yen (US$1.4 billion) for the current financial year to March, its biggest ever. The previous year it had made a loss of 18.0 billion yen.

Pioneer has had a hard time in recent years after being saddled with overcapacity in plasma display panels amid declining prices. The firm decided last year to stop making its own plasma panels and fit its televisions with panels bought from Panasonic Corp. instead. But it said it had decided to stop making televisions altogether because there were no prospects of turning around the business in the current climate.

The company is closing its plasma display production facilities in the U.S. and Britain and will focus on car electronics instead. "Even though the auto market is still subdued, we expect the market will pick up by March 2011, after which there will be a new business opportunity in the areas of environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient cars," said Kotani. "We hope to take up the new challenge using our position in the market and our technological advantages."

In addition to car electronics, Pioneer will continue to develop audio products, disc jockey (DJ) equipment and cable television set-top boxes.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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