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Panasonic May Cut 8,000 Jobs

Proposed cuts would be the second round of reductions this year following an S&P rating downgrade and another hard year for the Japanese electronics industry.

TOKYO - Panasonic (IW 1000/31) said Wednesday it may cut 8,000 jobs as part of a corporate overhaul aimed at shoring up its bleeding balance sheet, after suffering a credit rating downgrade this month.

The struggling Japanese electronics giant has already cut its workforce in the first half of the fiscal year to March by about 8,800 employees, which included some scheduled retirements, a company spokesman said.

This leaves a global total of 322,000 employees.

"We are considering reducing around 8,000 jobs in the second half of the year in a new step as part of our structural reform," the spokesman told AFP.

Earlier this month Standard & Poor's downgraded Panasonic's credit rating after the firm warned of a mammoth $9.6 billion annual loss.

The expected shortfall, largely due to restructuring and tax charges, is close to Panasonic's record loss last year and a reversal of an earlier profit forecast.

Like rivals Sharp (IW 1000/115) and Sony (IW 1000/39), Panasonic has suffered in its television business because of falling prices and stiff overseas competition. A strong yen and the global slowdown have also hit Japanese manufacturers.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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