Matsushita posts first ever loss

  07/31/2001 1:33:37 PM MDT Albuquerque, Nm
  By Dustin D. Brand; Owner AMO

Following the rest of Japan Matsushita/Panasonic posts quarterly loss.
  TOKYO, Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd reported its first-ever quarterly loss on Tuesday. Matsushita is the world's biggest consumer electronics maker.

  Matsushita, which is known for its Panasonic and National brands, posted a 38.69 billion yen ($309.2 million) consolidated operating loss in the April-June quarter. Sales fell by 5.6 percent to 1.67 trillion yen ($13.35 billion).

  ($1 US Dollar=125.12 Yen)

  Matsushita follows Japan based Nintendo in reporting losses, as well as many other Japanese companies. Matsushita lost big in demand for consumer electronis like mobile phones and electronic devices.

  "We feel that this is a critical period and we hope to go forward with restructuring," said Tetsuya Kawakami, director in charge of accounting, "Given the weak outlook for the information technology sector, we have decided to lower our targets." Matsushita also follows Nintendo with restructuring plans.

  Matsushita said on Tuesday it aimed to save 300 billion yen on parts and materials in the year to March 2002. Capital investment will be slashed by 100 billion yen to 320 billion yen.   Matsushita first started announcing earnings on a quarterly basis in 1971 according to US accounting rules, and this is their first reported quarterly loss since then.

  Shares in Matsushita ended the day up 3.88 percent at 1,740 yen, but are still down 38 percent from this year's high of 2,800 yen on January 5. This compares with the benchmark Nikkei 225 share average's 36 percent slide in the same period.

  Matsushita's announcement, which came after the Tokyo stock market had closed, followed similarly gloomy earnings reported last week by other high-tech firms such as Sony, NEC and Fujitsu.

  "We have been overly dependent on mobile phones. When sales fall, we not only lose on sales of the phone but the parts we supply," Kawakami said.