Panasonic to Reform Headquarters, Cut ‘Redundancies’ to Revive

Panasonic Corp. will reform its headquarters and eliminate redundancies to revive the company after its record loss last year, President Kazuhiro Tsuga said.

“We’ll move swiftly and aggressively,” Tsuga, who took over as president of the Osaka-based company yesterday, told reporters in Tokyo today. Panasonic has enough resources to improve earnings and potential for growth, Tsuga said.

Panasonic, the biggest employer among publicly traded companies in Japan with 330,767 workers, eliminated 36,000 jobs last fiscal year under Fumio Ohtsubo, who is now chairman. The maker of Viera televisions has projected net income of 50 billion yen ($630 million) for the year that started April 1, after charges to write down assets related to Sanyo Electric Co. pushed the company into a 772 billion yen annual loss.

The company’s headquarters, which currently has about 7,000 employees, will narrow its focus to investor relations and managing overall business portfolios after separating business promotion and other units, he said.

“The smaller the headquarters, the better,” he said.

Panasonic gained 2.1 percent to close at 631 yen in Tokyo trading today before the announcement, trimming its loss this year to 3.5 percent. The company is valued at 1.5 trillion yen, compared with 7 trillion yen in April 2006.

The company may re-arrange businesses into four areas, he said. They are household appliances including TV sets and solar panels, business-use goods such as air-conditioners, mobility products such as car navigation systems and rechargeable batteries for electric cars, and personal products such as compact cameras and shavers.

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