Panasonic, Sharp expect red ink despite yen help

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 1, 2013 at 4:39 am •  Published: February 1, 2013
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Panasonic is projecting a 765 billion yen ($9.6 billion) annual loss. Sharp expects a 450 billion yen ($5 billion) loss, record red ink for the manufacturer founded in 1912, making products such as the twist-type mechanical pencil.

Panasonic, a brand that was an archrival to Sony Corp. during the decades of Japan's post World War II economic modernization, has been shifting its business from consumer electronics to focus more on operations that cater to other businesses such as batteries and solar panels.

But it remains strong in appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators in some regions.

As exporters, Panasonic and Sharp got a boost from a favorable exchange rate. The dollar has strengthened about 14 percent against the yen in the past three months on expectations a new government would relax monetary policy to boost the nation's moribund economy.

Panasonic gained 3 billion yen ($33 million) in the latest quarter in operating profit from the weaker yen, according to the company. Sharp did not have a quarterly breakdown, but gained 700 million yen ($7.6 million) from the fall in the yen's exchange rate with the dollar and 500 million yen ($5.4 million) versus the euro over the first nine months of the fiscal year.

Panasonic reported a record loss of 772.2 billion yen ($8.4 billion) for the fiscal year through March 2012 — among the biggest in Japan's manufacturing history.

Sony, which also sank into a record loss for that fiscal year, reports earnings next week.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at www.twitter.com/yurikageyama

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