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November 14, 2012

Panasonic Troubles: 10,000 laid off and Garage Sale starting January 2013

This update will only please Debbie Downer. Panasonic continues to have financial troubles. Panasonic has tasked Kazuhiro Tsuga with the function of the Turnaround Czar (we gave him the title, not Panasonic). He is responsible for turning around the Panasonic financial ship. As part of these efforts, a new round of layoffs of ten thousand (10,000) employees have been announced.

But the pain is far from over. Between January and the end of March 2013, Panasonic will be having a "garage sale", which includes selling assets but also jettisoning business units that cannot be turned out financially. The jettisoning may be sell, close, or merge. Panasonic has 88 business units but so far only half of them have met the goal of a 5% or higher operating margin.

The story with details including quotes from a Panasonic bean counter at in Japan. (via Techmeme).

What About Digital Cameras?
Digital cameras are reported under the "AVC Networks" which includes flat-panel TVs, Blu-Ray, cameras, projectors, and notebook computers among other things. The good news is that as of the six-month financial report (published Oct-2012, covers six months up to Sept-30-2012), AVC Networks have an operating profit of 19.9%, even though sales were down 24% year-over-year. The previous year, this group was losing money. So this is definitely a good trend.

You can see this in page #9 (slide #9) in this Panasonic PDF file (direct link to PDF file). More details at the Panasonic Investor Relations page.

Please note AVC Networks is not a business unit, but a segment. The company has eight segments. For a colorful description of the eight segments check the 2012 annual report (direct link to PDF file). The company has 88 business units. So you could have a troubled business unit inside a successful segment and vice versa. [NOTE: this particular annual report only includes financial data up to March-31-2012; It is not the most recent financial report from Panasonic. I am mentioning it so you can see a detailed breakdown of the eight Panasonic segments]

I have not (yet?) found a detailed breakdown of the digital cameras profit margins. The closest I got was finding a slide that shows digital camera sales but without the all-important profit margins: in this PDF file, search for the word cameras to find it, it is the second search result. This particular slide/page shows results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2013 and the first half of fiscal year 2013. Both with September-30-2012 end-dates and published October 2012.

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