Panasonic to axe 15 000 jobs

2009-02-04 11:55

Tokyo - Japan's Panasonic said on Wednesday it was cutting up to 15 000 jobs and closing dozens of plants worldwide as it braces to fall deep in the red due to the global economic crisis.

Panasonic expects a net loss of ¥380bn in this financial year to March as recessions in major economies from Japan to Europe and the United States prompt consumers to cut their spending.

The group will shut 27 plants by the end of March and expects further closures next year, a Panasonic director, Makoto Uenoyama, said.

"We expect to close about 20% of our 239 outlets worldwide," he told reporters. "The next fiscal year could be tougher than this year."

About half of the 15 000 job cuts, which will be completed by March 2010, will be in Japan and the rest overseas, Uenoyama said. Both temporary and regular workers will be affected.

The company has enjoyed brisk sales of plasma televisions, mobile telephones and digital cameras in recent years, but it has not escaped the fallout from the global economic slowdown.

The announcement came just days after Japanese IT giants NEC and Hitachi said they were cutting a total of 27 000 jobs. Sony last month announced plans to reduce its workforce by about 16 000 people.

Panasonic posted a net loss of ¥63.1bn for the fiscal third quarter to December, against a year-earlier profit of ¥115.2bn, as revenue slumped 20% due to weak demand and a strong yen.

"Business conditions have worsened particularly since last October, due mainly to the rapid appreciation of the yen, sluggish consumer spending worldwide and ever-intensified price competition," a company statement said.

Many major Japanese exporters are bracing for big losses this year as consumers tighten their purse strings.

Other Japanese electronics makers including Sony, Toshiba, NEC, Hitachi and Fujitsu have also reported losses due to the economic crisis.