Panasonic Forecasts $5.3 Billion Full-year Loss

Company will close plants and shifting its procurement and logistics base to Singapore, marking the first time any part of its headquarters are to be outside Japan.

As a strong yen and one-off charges reversed a previously forecast profit, Panasonic said on Oct. 31it expected to lose $5.3 billion this year.

The company said it had lost 136.15 billion yen ($1.75 billion) between April and September.

It also forecast a group net loss of 420 billion yen for the full year to March 2012, compared to an earlier profit forecast of 30 billion yen, due to re-organization and restructuring costs.

The first-half loss stemmed from declining sales, restructuring costs and the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the company said.

The weaker outlook came "due primarily to the sluggish overseas sales affected by ever-intensified price competition for digital products and the appreciation of the yen," the company said in a statement.

The loss came against a net profit of 74.72 billion yen logged in the same period a year earlier.

Osaka-based Panasonic booked an operating profit of 47.60 billion yen, down 71.8% from the first half of fiscal 2010, and sales of 4.01 trillion yen, down 8.3%.

The company also revised down its full-year operating profit to 130 billion yen from 270 billion yen, while it now expects sales of 8.3 trillion yen compared to 8.7 trillion yen.

The company also said it would be shuttering plants and shifting its procurement and logistics base to Singapore, marking the first time any part of company's headquarters are to be outside Japan.

A liquid crystal display factory east of Tokyo and one in Shanghai will close, while production at another site in Japan will be reduced, it said.

The screens, which are used in televisions, will be sourced from a supplier, Chief Executive Fumio Ohtsubo said.

Panasonic has struggled to cope with falling television prices and increased competition. It has also been badly hit by the rocketing value of the yen, which has reached successive new post-war highs over recent months as investors seeking a safe haven from the global economic storm have flocked to the currency.

Panasonic also unveiled plans to transfer the headquarters of its procurement and logistics operations from Osaka to Singapore in a process starting in April 2012. "The move is part of the companys globalization efforts in line with its midterm management plan," it said

"The operational shift to Singapore allows Panasonic to globally optimize the use of parts and materials procured outside Japan, as well as to build a logistics system with Asia in the centre of the operation.

"The company will work to develop new suppliers to cope with rising material prices as well as to cut procurement costs."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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