(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) OSAKA, March 18 -- (Kyodo) _ (EDS: ADDING DETAILS)
Panasonic Corp. is considering withdrawing from plasma display television operations possibly in fiscal 2014 as part of efforts to focus more on profitable products, corporate sources said Monday.
There will be no other Japanese firms in full production of plasma TVs if Panasonic, which started selling them in 1997, decides on pulling out, after failing to survive intensifying technological competition against Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Corp. and other makers of liquid crystal display TVs.
Panasonic is expected to formally announce the downsizing of its TV operations later this month when it releases its new mid-term business plan.
Panasonic is making arrangements to cease production of plasma TV display panels at its plant in Amagasaki near Osaka possibly in the business year ending in March 2015, the sources said.
Panasonic, which has already ended research and development of plasma panels, will assess the timing of when to completely withdraw from the money-losing operations while gradually reducing the output volume as it still needs to win understanding from its business partners.
Other than TVs, there is even a possibility that Panasonic will entirely pull out of plasma panel operations, such as those related to electronic blackboards, the sources said.
Panasonic could face hefty losses as it is expected to be required to record an impairment of asset value in its account after terminating the operations at the Amagasaki plant, which has three production buildings.
The Osaka-headquartered manufacturer will consider relocating workers at the plant, according to the sources.
Under its restructuring plan, Panasonic is also planning to scale down its LCD TV and panel operations.
Panasonic is planning to raise the ratio of production outsourcing to 70 percent in this business year through March 31 and eventually procure most of the panels from other firms.
At the Himeji plant in Hyogo Prefecture, the company will instead focus on making small and medium-sized LCD panels for tablet computers.
In the new business plan, Panasonic, which is expected to incur a group net loss of 760 billion yen for the current business year, would shift its business focus to auto-related products and home appliances.
(c) 2013 Kyodo News International, Inc.
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