Tokyo, Japan (4E) – Panasonic Corp. said it will stop manufacturing plasma television panels this fiscal year, a move that could close the chapter on the company’s ill-fated investments in flat-panel TV that hit the company with over $15bn in losses over the last two fiscal years.
Panasonic is planning to sell a portion of its Amagasaki factory in Japan, according to a source familiar with the matter who requested to stay anonymous because the plan has not yet been made public. The plant, which is located near Osaka, is the only Panasonic factory that manufacture the devices, and a sale before March could result to a writedown of 40bn yen ($412mn), according to the source.
Panasonic had been thinking of halting production of plasma display in the coming fiscal year beginning April, but opted to move up the timetable due to ongoing troubles at the business, said one of the sources.
Panasonic is ranked fourth in the world in terms of revenue from flat-panel TVs in the second quarter of 2013, according to researcher NPD DisplaySearch last month. Japanese rival Sony Corp. is ranked third.
In September, KKR & Co. said it will buy Panasonic’s health-care unit for around 165bn yen. Panasonic sold the unit as it seeks to refocus its resources in its electronics business, hoping to reverse its losses there in the next two years.