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Panasonic's red ink grows, forecasts loss for year

Associated Press Modified: October 31, 2012 at 3:03 am •  Published: October 31, 2012
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TOKYO (AP) — Panasonic Corp.'s losses ballooned to 698 billion yen ($8.7 billion) for the fiscal second quarter as sales plunged in flat-panel TVs, laptops and other gadgets, and restructuring costs to turn itself around were proving bigger than initially expected.

The red ink, announced Wednesday, proved far worse than the 105.8 billion yen loss racked up for the July-September period last year.

The Osaka-based maker of Viera TVs and Lumix digital cameras revised its full year forecast from an earlier projection for a 50 billion yen ($625 million) profit to a massive annual loss of 765 billion yen ($9.6 billion).

Panasonic sank into a record loss of 772.2 billion yen ($9.6 billion) for the fiscal year through March 2012 — among the biggest in Japan's manufacturing history.

Its problems are emblematic of the overall Japanese electronics industry. Panasonic's longtime rival Sony Corp. racked up a record annual loss of 457 billion yen ($5.7 billion) in its fourth straight year of red ink. Sony reports fiscal results on Thursday.

Panasonic's quarterly sales sank 12 percent to 1.82 trillion yen ($22.8 billion) as a global slowdown, the falling price of electronics products and competition from cheaper Asian makers chipped away at sales. Sales in Japan dipped 11 percent, while overseas sales shrank 14 percent.

Panasonic has been trying to expand operations that cater to other businesses, instead of consumers, by beefing up its solar panel and battery divisions, including auto batteries.

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