Panasonic Corp. (6752), Japan’s biggest appliance maker, fell to the lowest level in 34 years in Tokyo trading after forecasting full-year profit that lagged behind analyst estimates amid a slump in television demand.
Panasonic declined as much as 4.7 percent to 543 yen, the lowest in intraday trading since January 1978, and traded at 553 yen as of 9:40 a.m. The Osaka-based company expects net income of 50 billion yen ($624 million) in the year ending March 31, it said in a May 11 earnings statement. That compared with the 106 billion yen average of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg as of May 11.
The maker of Viera TVs joined Sony Corp. in predicting profit that lagged behind estimates as global TV demand falls and Japanese companies lose market share to South Korean competitors Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. (066570) Panasonic expects to recover from a record 772 billion yen loss last year as sales rise 3.2 percent, it said in the statement.
The company’s sales-growth targets are “slightly bullish,” Shunsuke Tsuchiya, a Tokyo-based analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG, wrote in a note to clients today. “As long as Panasonic lacks any competitive advantage, downside risks remain.”
The company forecast a 60 billion yen operating profit at the audio-visual unit and a 3 billion yen profit at the energy unit in the year that started in April.
Panasonic’s TV sales this year will decline to 15.5 million units from 17 million units last year, the company said May 11. The company will lose money from selling TVs this year, Tetsuya Yoshimoto, a group manager at its accounting unit, told reporters.
Global TV shipments last year fell for the first time in six years because of excessive inventory in the U.S. and Europe, and the end of Japanese government subsidies for purchases, according to DisplaySearch, part of NPD Group. Shipments fell 0.3 percent to 247.7 million units, the researcher said.
Sony (6758), Japan’s biggest electronics exporter, on May 10 forecast net income of 30 billion yen this fiscal year, lagging behind the 61.4 billion yen estimate of analysts.
Sony, which also had a record loss last year, fell 1 percent to 1,124 yen in Tokyo trading.
Panasonic is promoting Kazuhiro Tsuga, its 55-year-old chief of audiovisual products, to replace President Fumio Ohtsubo, 66, as the company tries to speed up reforms. Sony and Sharp Corp. are also replacing top management as they struggle to revive earnings.
Solar Cells, Batteries
Panasonic, founded in 1918, is trying to transform itself into a leader in solar panels and rechargeable batteries. The company has expanded its renewable energy businesses, including solar panels and power-storage systems, since it acquired Sanyo Electric Co. in 2008. It also merged last year with Panasonic Electric Works, which makes lighting systems and electrical- wiring fittings.
Ohtsubo said last year Panasonic will eliminate almost 17,000 jobs over two years in his second round of job cuts as part of an overhaul to revive the manufacturer, which makes products ranging from car TV sets and digital cameras to rice cookers and refrigerators.
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