Japanese consumer electronics giant Panasonic Corp said it would cut another 17,000 jobs and close up to 70 factories around the world over the next two years in a bid to pare costs and keep up with Asian rivals.
The maker of Viera TVs and Lumix cameras said it was aiming to trim its workforce of 367,000 at the end of last month to 350,000 by March 2013. The cull comes on top of nearly 18,000 job cuts made in the past business year, for a total of around 35,000 over three years.
Company president Fumio Ohtsubo said Panasonic had about 350 manufacturing bases around the world and would look to merge operations where it could.
“I can’t say for sure, but I think it's possible we will cut the number of manufacturing bases by 10 or 20%,” he said, declining to comment on which countries might see job cuts.Panasonic is seeking to shift its focus to environmental and energy-related businesses such as rechargeable batteries in order to duck competition from Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and others in consumer technology.
Panasonic did not give a forecast for the current year because of uncertainties following the quake. It said without the impact of the quake, its forecast for this year would have been for an operating profit of 310 billion yen.
“The (job cut) figure is huge, but so is the company, and for an old-fashioned one like Panasonic, this is a big move,” said Toru Hashizume, chief investment officer at Stats Investment Management in Tokyo.