Panasonic joins Sony and Sharp in sea of red ink

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Panasonic joins Sony and Sharp in sea of red ink

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Japanese Consumer electronics giant Panasonic has warned it is heading for a record annual net loss of 7.78 billion euros.

As with its rivals Sony and Sharp, Panasonic is struggling with shrinking demand for TVs.

Company President Fumio Oht-subo apologised for the unprecedented loss but gave no sign that he would step aside as Sony’s boss Howard Stringer has done.

Panasonic also has big restructuring charges and writedowns in the value of assets following its purchase of Sanyo in 2009.

Together, Panasonic, Sony and Sharp expect to lose around 13 billion euros this year, highlighting the savaging of Japan’s electronics industry by foreign rivals led by South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, weak demand and a strong yen.

Sony on Thursday pressed its reset button after warning of a bigger-than-expected annual loss, announcing that Kazuo Hirai will take over from Stringer as CEO in April.

That triggered an eight percent jump in Sony’s share price on Friday, its biggest one-day percentage gain in almost a year.

By 2015, annual global sales of liquid crystal TVs will contract by eight percent to 70 billion euros according to flat panel industry research company DisplaySearch. Worse still, it forecasts that plasma sets, a market that Panasonic dominates, will shrink 38 percent to 5.3 billion euros.