Market Overview

Panasonic's TV Sales Fall 20 Percent

Panasonic's TV Sales Fall 20 Percent

It seems that Panasonic's (OTC: PCRFY) restructuring plan has not been successful.

According to CNET, the Japanese electronics giant posted another major loss. The company lost 754.3 billion Yen ($7.42 billion U.S.) during the fiscal 2012 sales period after sales declined seven percent to 7,846 billion Yen ($71.86 billion U.S.).

Once again, TV sales -- which fell 20 percent in 2012 -- proved to be a big part of the problem. This has created some concern that the company may close its TV unit, particularly after Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga vowed to eliminate unprofitable businesses.

Thus far, Panasonic has reportedly reduced its plasma TV manufacturing efforts to less than one million units. The company was expected compensate for this decline by producing more LCD displays, but that may have changed now that another annual loss has been reported.

There is also the chance that Panasonic may get out of the plasma TV business altogether. In March, rumors claimed that the ill-fated manufacturer would sell its plasma business to HTC or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE: TSM). It is not clear what either firm would do with plasma displays, which have been mostly replaced by cheaper and more efficient LCD and LED televisions.

Some have speculated that Panasonic could ride the 4K gravy train to success, but that train has yet to come into town. With prices ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, 4K Ultra HD displays are some of the most expensive TVs available. This could make it difficult for Panasonic to persuade consumers to upgrade.

Last year Panasonic joined forces with Sony (NYSE: SNE) to build OLED displays. By teaming up, the two tech titans hoped that they could reduce expenses and improve production of this newer technology. Little has come from this effort, so it might not be a huge deal for Panasonic to walk away. However, it could be a huge blow to Sony, which has been relying on Panasonic's assistance to build cheaper televisions.

Panasonic is not the only Japanese TV maker that has been encountering losses. While Sony may be able to use its PlayStation division (and other profitable units) to offset any and all TV loses in 2013, Panasonic relies heavily on TV sales. The same is true for Sharp (OTC: SHCAY).

Sharp struck fear in investors when it warned that it may not survive. Unlike Panasonic, which is somewhat diversified, the majority of Sharp's business comes from TV sales. The company also produces microwaves, calculators, fax machines, printers, solar panels, LED lighting systems and a very low-end smartphone.

None of those items have been able to offset the decline of Sharp's TV business.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: CNET Panasonic Sharp SonyNews Tech Best of Benzinga


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