4 Feb 2009

Panasonic to shed 15,000 jobs, close plants

9:24 pm on 4 February 2009

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic said on Wednesday it was cutting up to 15,000 jobs and closing dozens of plants worldwide as it braces to fall deep in the red due to the global economic crisis.

Panasonic expects a net loss of Y380 billion yen (US4.2 billion) in this financial year to March as recessions in major economies from Japan to Europe and the United States force consumers to cut their spending.

Panasoic will shut 27 plants by the end of March and expects further closures next year, a director of the company, Makoto Uenoyama, said. It operates 239 plants worldwide.

About half of the 15,000 job cuts, which will be completed by March 2010, will be in Japan and the rest overseas, Mr Uenoyama said. Both temporary and fulltime workers will be affected.

The company has enjoyed brisk sales of plasma televisions, mobile telephones and digital cameras in recent years, but it has not escaped the fallout from the global economic slowdown.

The announcement came just days after Japanese IT giants NEC and Hitachi said they were cutting a total of 27,000 jobs. Sony Corp in January announced plans to reduce its workforce by about 16,000.

Many major Japanese exporters are bracing for big losses this year as consumers tighten their purse strings.

Other Japanese electronics makers including Sony, Toshiba, NEC, Hitachi and Fujitsu have also reported losses due to the economic crisis.