Panasonic posts $4 billion loss

Panasonic joins the growing list of iconic Japanese companies finishing the year in the red.
Panasonic, one of the world’s largest makers of electronic devices, announced it lost nearly $4 billion in the fiscal year ending March 31.

The loss wasn’t surprising, but the size was — analysts had predicted the Osaka-based company would lose about $1 billion. The group’s sales decreased 14 percent this year, cutting the year-end dividend to 7.5 yen per share. In its year-end report, the company forecasts that business will shrink by an additional 10 percent this year, reaching an estimated loss of $2 billion by next March. The company, which formally changed its name from Matsushita Electric late last year, makes semiconductors, industrial equipment and home electronics devices. Panasonic joined the growing list of Japanese companies posting large annual losses this week as a result of the financial crisis, which has eroded its export-dependent economy. Hitachi lost $8 billion in the fiscal year ending March 31, with consolidated revenues down 11 percent from last year. It was the largest loss ever recorded by a Japanese manufacturer, according to Shinko Research Institute.

NEC Corporation lost $3 billion in the past fiscal year, down nearly 11.5 percent from last year. Meanwhile, Nissan lost $2.3 billion for the year. Sony Corp. announced net losses of $1 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, finishing a year in the red for the first time in 14 years.