Japanese technology giant Panasonic Corp. is said to be considering whether or not it will abandon its production of plasma TV displays by March 2013. As the company struggles with huge losses this fiscal year and is rapidly shedding unprofitable businesses, a source with the company says Panasonic will instead focus on organic electroluminescence and other display panel technologies for TVs in the future.
Plasma display technology was previously seen in Panasonic’s large-screen televisions sets, while small and medium-sized units took advantage of LCD (liquid crystal display) panels. But while innovations with LCDs have taken off, plasmas have been limiting and difficult to turn a profit on. The company is said to continue producing plasma panel production for industrial-use displays for the time being.
Operations for plasma display are primarily located at the plant in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, while production was already consolidated to the Amagasaki factory in Hyogo Prefecture. Among Panasonic’s recent woes are the expectation of racking up more than $9 billion in losses for the 2012 fiscal year, and the reduction of its credit rating to “junk” status by Fitch Ratings. Nearly 10,000 job cuts have been announced by March of next year, and in addition to reducing reliance on TV production, may be selling off its Sanyo digital camera division. Among its goals for recovery are to focus on profitable businesses like screens for tablet devices and the development of solar panels.[via Kyodo]