Panasonic's Quarterly Report Involves Worst Losses in Japanese Industrial History

By Steve Anderson May 11, 2012

The annual report from Panasonic looked less like a financial statement and more like an ocean of red, as the losses in the January-March time frame climbed to 438 billion yen--around $5 billion U.S.--amid a litany of horrors that included natural disasters and a slumping economy. The losses were regarded as being among the worst in Panasonic's history, matching some similarly bad news coming out of competitor Sony.

And this isn't the first quarter of losses for Panasonic either--in the same January-March run in 2011, Panasonic reported a loss of 40.7 billion yen--though these are some of the worst that had been seen, not only by Panasonic itself but by, at last report, the entire history of Japan's industrial system. Perhaps more galling is the report that, in 2011, despite that disastrous first quarter, Panasonic had reported a profit of 74 billion yen for the year.

The problem, according to some reports, is the growing prominence of the rest of the Asian market, as personified by South Korean powerhouse Samsung, though with several others also in the field and gaining ground. Additionally, the strong yen is making exporting difficult as the prices on Japanese goods in general is higher than those made in countries offering weaker currency issues.

Panasonic is hopeful, however, that a turnaround can be accomplished, mainly by trying to increase its total slate of offerings--Panasonic offers industrial products as well as consumer electronics, and has a surprising presence in the health care field--and by bringing in the perspectives of a new president, though shareholder approval is still required before the change in guard is official.

Panasonic doesn't have the gaming lineup that competitor Sony does to fall back on--Panasonic's recent attempt at a gaming device, the Jungle, was canceled in March of 2011 following changes in the market and a plan to pursue green technology and health care issues--but they do have presence in other parts of the market. And considering the graying of the planet's overall demographics, especially in the major industrialized nations, pursuing health care technology may be a smart plan.

But will it be enough to surmount an overall down economy and an environment for consumer technology that's both increasingly competitive and softening? That remains to be seen, but at least Panasonic has a plan. Though if that plan doesn't work, it may well mean the end for Panasonic, as no one can sustain losses like that for long.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

Related Articles

Consumer Privacy in the Digital Era: Three Trends to Watch

By: Special Guest    1/18/2018

Digital advertising has exploded in recent years, with the latest eMarketer data forecasting $83 billion in revenue this year and continued growth on …

Read More

CES 2018: Terabit Fiber - Closer Than We Think

By: Doug Mohney    1/17/2018

One of the biggest challenges for 5G and last mile 10 Gig deployments is not raw data speeds, but middle mile and core networks. The wireless industry…

Read More

10 Benefits of Drone-Based Asset Inspections

By: Frank Segarra    1/15/2018

Although a new and emerging technology, (which is still evolving), in early 2018, most companies are not aware of the possible benefits they can achie…

Read More

VR Could Change Entertainment Forever

By: Special Guest    1/11/2018

VR could change everything from how we play video games to how we interact with our friends and family. VR has the power to change how we consume all …

Read More

Making Connections - The Value of Data Correlation

By: Special Guest    1/5/2018

The app economy is upon us, and businesses of all stripes are moving to address it. In this age of digital transformation, businesses rely on applicat…

Read More