Panasonic May Cut More Jobs as $9.6 Billion Loss Forecast

Panasonic Corp., Japan’s third-biggest employer, eliminated almost 39,000 jobs in the past year, and its chief financial officer said the TV maker doesn’t plan another round of cuts. Investors say it has to.

Even after reducing its workforce by about 11 percent --almost double the reductions at Sony Corp. and Sharp Corp. combined -- Panasonic will post a 765 billion-yen ($9.6 billion) loss in the year ending March 31, the company said yesterday. Panasonic plunged the most in at least 38 years in Tokyo trading today, making it the biggest percentage loser in the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index (MXAP), and Moody’s Investors Service said it will review the company’s debt for a potential downgrade.

“They have to cut, cut, cut,” said Edwin Merner, president of Atlantis Investment Research Corp. in Tokyo, which manages about $300 million in assets. “They’re not doing it fast enough. You have to be lean and mean.”

The projected second-highest loss in Panasonic’s history prompted the Osaka-based company to skip a dividend for the first time since 1950 because of an “urgent need” to improve its financial position.

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