Japan's Panasonic to cut 15,000 jobs, shut plants

Panasonic Corp., sinking into its first annual loss in six years, said Wednesday it was slashing about 15,000 jobs and shuttering 27 plants worldwide, joining a string of Japanese companies making deep cuts as they cope with the global slowdown.

Plunging consumer demand, lower gadget prices and the soaring yen, which erodes overseas income, are battering Panasonic, the the world’s largest maker of plasma display TVs. It racked up a 63.1 billion yen ($709 million) net loss for the fiscal third quarter compared to a 115.2 billion yen profit the same quarter the previous year.

The Osaka-based manufacturer of cell phones, batteries and camcorders also slashed its forecast for the fiscal year through March to a net loss of 380 billion yen ($4.2 billion), its first annual net loss in six years.

The last time Panasonic reported an annual loss was for the fiscal year ended March 2002, when a global electronics slump and massive restructuring costs contributed to 431 billion yen in red ink.


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