Panasonic confirms exit from plasma market

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IER reported as early as April 2013 with regards to Panasonic’s planned exit from the plasma market and reputable media sources were further convinced of this strategy earlier in the month as reports emerged that the production facility in Amagasaki would close and be put up for sale.

Panasonic had never officially confirmed any course of action for their participation in the PDP market until today, when the corporation issued a statement confirming what we have known for many months.

The statement reads: Panasonic Corporation today announced that in order to create a business structure that can respond to changes in the business environment and to accelerate the growth strategy of the company, the company will end the production of plasma display panels (PDP) in December 2013, and stop business operations at the Amagasaki P3 Factory (production currently stopped), the Amagasaki P5 Factory (production currently suspended), and the Amagasaki P4 Factory, which is currently operating, by the end of March 2014.

In the display panel business, Panasonic has been promoting the development of non-TV applications and carried out various restructuring measures, such as reduction of fixed costs, for both PDP and LCD panels. Through further fundamental business restructuring, the company is aiming to optimize the business and focus its management resources.

Since 2000, Panasonic has promoted its PDP business and led the global flat panel display market with its strategy of utilizing PDP for large displays and LCD for small- and medium-sized displays.

However, with the rapid development of large-screen LCDs, and facing the severe price competition in the global market brought on by the Lehman Shock in September 2008, the company consolidated production in the Amagasaki P4 Factory, made a shift towards commercial applications and worked to improve the earnings of the business.

Until now, due to the superiority of the picture, Panasonic’s PDPs have received high appraisal and there has been firm demand from customers worldwide. However, due to rapid, drastic changes in the business environment and a declining demand for PDP in the flat panel display market, it was judged that continuing the business would be difficult and a decision was made to stop production.

The company will end sales of plasma TVs for consumer use and PDP related products for commercial use, such as Interactive Plasma Displays, with the products for FY 2014 (ending March 31, 2014). However, by selecting display panels that are most suitable for each product for both consumer and commercial use, Panasonic will work to develop and provide appealing products which meet the demands of customers, and will aim towards new development of its visual and display businesses.

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