Panasonic blames sluggish TV demand for £4.8 billion full-year loss

While Sony reported its first profit in five years, rival Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer Panasonic has posted its second consecutive net loss.

Despite the various cost-cutting initiatives implemented by CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga - the company has cut some 40,000 jobs over the past two years - Panasonic confirmed a net loss of 754 billion yen (£4.8bn) for the fiscal year to March 2013.

The company also reported a slide in revenue of 6.9 per cent, despite previously positing that it would return to the black this year.

After a loss of 772 billion yen (£4.9bn) in 2011/12, Panasonic predicted a modest net profit of 50 billion yen (£319m) for 2012/13, but analyst predictions of a 745 billion yen (£4.7bn) net loss ended up being much closer to the truth.

Panasonic blamed the "severe business situation, including sluggish demand in flat-panel TVs, mainly in Japan" for its continued struggles, but again insisted that it had turned a corner and would return to profitability in 2014.

"We've done a lot of restructuring in fiscal 2011 and again last year, but we're trying to push forward further restructuring to get things done as soon as possible," said Hideaki Kawai, Panasonic's chief financial officer.

As a result of the eye-watering losses, the likelihood is that Panasonic will increasingly distance itself from the manufacture of entertainment products like televisions and DVD players - Tsuga has promised to raze loss-making and low-profit divisions that fall short of a 5 per cent annual operating margin threshold.

Instead, Panasonic is expected to focus its attention on white goods, home appliances, and eco solutions - its highest earning segments over the last fiscal year.

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