EXCLUSIVE: While Panasonic global wallows in billions of dollars worth of losses, their local subsidiary is tearing up the record books with big growth in the plasma TV, Blu-ray, digital cameras and appliances markets.
Unlike Sony Australia, Panasonic local management is prepared to talk about the company’s performance both locally and at a global level after Panasonic global reported losses in excess of $5B.
Steve Rust, the Managing Director of Panasonic Australia said that globally “the market is tough but I am confident that globally Panasonic is already on track to turn around their current problems. We have a pedigree at doing this” he said referring to the book “Panasonic, the largest corporate restructure in history” which outlines how between 2000 and 2006 Panasonic was able to restructure their global operation to become a major consumer electronics force.”
In Australia, Panasonic is witnessing record growth for their plasma TV’s despite major supply problems during the past 4 months. In December and January, sales of their plasma TV panels grew by 35%.
April 2009 sales were up 60% on April 2008 “And that was during a period when we had chronic shortages of panels. We are now shipping stock into stores and I am confident that we see further growth over the next few months”.
Overall, Panasonic Australia has grown by 14% with their business to business division spanning telecommunication and PC sales pulling down the overall performance of the Australian operation.
In the digital camera market, Panasonic Australia has jumped from 9th to 5th in the overall rankings and is currently working with their advertising agency Campaign Palace to deliver a major marketing campaign for their Lumix digital camera range which they are confident will lift them into the top 3 alongside the likes of Canon and Nikon.
“The camera market is very important to us. We have an excellent range that is proving very popular and I believe that increased marketing we will lift our share even further. Last year we grew at over 100% and I am confident that we can do this again” said Rust.
He also admitted that the company is looking for additional growth in the appliance market in particular the air conditioning market where Panasonic has an “arsenal” of overseas products to call on for the Australian market.
“While the TV market is booming, I do not want Panasonic to have all their growth in one segment of the market which is why we are investing in new appliances and new product categories. We currently have a strong commercial display division and we are extremely happy with our sales of ToughBook notebooks, however our Business to Business division has gone very soft due to the economic downturn” said Rust.
PS: We have offered the same interview opertunity to Carl Rose the CEO of Sony.