Panasonic, the world’s largest maker of plasma TVs, has reported a profit of $360 million. In the same quarter last year, the company made a loss. It is the second quarter of profits for the Japanese company, which recently acquired a 50.2 per cent share in Sanyo.In its consumer electronics division, Panasonic reported a 23 per cent jump in demand for its flat-panel TVs and a surge in demand for its Blu-ray players. In comparison, Sony reported a 10 per cent fall in demand for its Bravia LCD TVs, Blu-ray players and PlayStation gaming consoles.
Panasonic also saw an increase in demand for its appliances, including microwave and air conditioners, which Panasonic Australia launched late last year backed by a major TV advertising campaign.
Panasonic said that the acquisition of a majority stake in Sanyo Electric will impact its full-year results and change its future investment priorities from flat-panel televisions to energy-related products like electric car batteries and solar panels.
Management at the Japanese company said that the unprofitable Sanyo was at this stage a liability and that the acquisition will over time deliver significant profits.
“Up until now, we’ve focused on investing in flat-panel TVs, but we’re going to shift somewhat to energy and environmental products going forward,” said Makoto Uenoyama, Panasonic’s chief financial officer.
According to The Wall Street Journal, a key part of its existing energy business is a car battery joint venture with Toyota. Panasonic holds a 20 per cent stake in Panasonic EV Energy, which makes car batteries for Toyota’s hybrid vehicles. Mr Uenoyama said Toyota’s recent troubles could spill over to Panasonic’s results in the next fiscal year if the problems linger, but he didn’t elaborate further.
Like Sony, Panasonic has slashed procurement costs and cut expenses across the entire company, admitting that declines in the retail price of televisions and other consumer electronics had impacted its business. Panasonic said that while the global economy has shown some signs of improvement, the company has yet to see overseas demand return to pre-downturn levels.