published Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Panasonic returns to profit in 1Q on cost cutting

People are reflected on a glass exterior of a Panasonic showroom in Tokyo Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Consumer electronics giant Panasonic Corp. said Tuesday it returned to the black in the April-June quarter, logging a net profit of 12.8 billion ($163 million) mainly on lower costs after cutting more than 38,000 jobs over the last year. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
People are reflected on a glass exterior of a Panasonic showroom in Tokyo Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Consumer electronics giant Panasonic Corp. said Tuesday it returned to the black in the April-June quarter, logging a net profit of 12.8 billion ($163 million) mainly on lower costs after cutting more than 38,000 jobs over the last year. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

MALCOLM FOSTER

TOKYO (AP) — Panasonic Corp. said Tuesday it returned to the black in the April-June quarter, logging a net profit of 12.8 billion ($163 million) mainly on lower costs after cutting more than 38,000 jobs over the last year.

The consumer electronics giant had a net loss of 30.4 billion yen in the same quarter a year earlier.

The Osaka-based maker of Viera TVs and Lumix digital cameras said that it turned a profit despite a 6 percent decline in fiscal first quarter sales to 1.815 trillion yen amid weak demand in its Japanese home market.

The European financial crisis and the strong yen, which erodes overseas sales when repatriated to Japan, also weighed on the company's performance, it said in a release.

Panasonic kept its profit forecast for the full fiscal year through March 2013 unchanged at 50 billion yen ($638 million). Last fiscal year, it reported a record loss of 772.2 billion yen.

The company said it slashed its global workforce to about 327,500 as of the end of June from nearly 366,000 a year earlier.

Sales of its audio-visual products decreased 20 percent to 360 billion yen on poor demand for flat-panel TVs, but the division managed to swing to a profit of 7.4 billion yen after losing money a year earlier.

Profits in its home appliance segment — the biggest of eight business divisions — rose 7 percent on higher sales of refrigerators and washing machines.

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