Matsushita reports a large H1 loss

Matsushita Electric Industrial made a large net loss for the first half of fiscal year 2001, the company reported Tuesday. It also predicted that the severe economic environment will continue through the current fiscal year, and revised its full-year earnings forecast to a greater net loss.

For the first half, the company's consolidated net loss was 69.5 billion yen (US$581 million as of Sept. 30, the last day of the period being reported), compared to a net profit of 51.4 billion yen in the same period last year. Group sales of 3.4 trillion yen marked a 9 percent decrease from last year.

"There are three factors that led to the results," said Kunio Nakamura, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Matsushita. "Sales of device-related products, such as PC drives, sharply dropped, but most of all, it was the global downturn of mobile telecommunication devices markets. And thirdly, in the last few years, we are not doing well in the domestic home appliances market."

Matsushita, like other chip makers, suffered in the semiconductor market. Sales of components and devices were down 14 percent.

Sales of information and communications equipment fell 11 percent, and only the video and audio equipment sector increased sales compared to the year-ago period.

"I feel responsible for the results," said Nakamura. "I assure that we will recover by 2002." As one of the company's reforming measures, Matsushita offered its employees an early retirement plan, for which 8,000 people have applied so far. The plan will be implemented this fiscal year, ending March 2002, he said.

With expectations of extraordinary losses coming from its reforming plans in the second half, the company revised its fiscal 2001 earnings forecast to a net loss of 265 billion yen, down from an earlier forecast of a net profit of 57 billion yen.

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