Electronics

Panasonic net profit hit by weak solar products demand

Japan's Panasonic said on Thursday that annual net profit and revenue slumped because of slowing demand for household solar energy products and the impact of a stronger yen, but predicted a rebound this year.

Panasonic, known for its electronics, has shifted to other sectors, including energy and an auto division © (AFP)

Panasonic, known for its electronics, has shifted to other sectors, including energy and an auto division © (AFP)

Japan's Panasonic said on Thursday that annual net profit and revenue slumped because of slowing demand for household solar energy products and the impact of a stronger yen, but predicted a rebound this year.

Net profit fell nearly 10 percent to 149.36 billion yen ($1.3 billion) on 7.34 trillion yen in revenue, which was off 3.7 percent, in the just-ended fiscal year to March, Panasonic said.

Operating profit, however, jumped 20 percent, mostly due to cost savings from an ongoing restructuring, the firm said.

Its latest numbers were also better than its forecasts last year when the Brexit vote in June sent the yen soaring, which eats into the profits of Japanese firms doing business abroad.

"Panasonic was faced with a big foreign exchange impact and it's likely to be a factor for the company again this year," Mitsushige Akino, an executive officer at Ichiyoshi Investment Management, said before the results were published.

Best known abroad for electronics, Panasonic has shifted to other sectors, including energy and an auto division that makes products from electrical components to navigation systems.

Panasonic and US electric car maker Tesla have agreed to start working together on solar energy products.

The pair have already teamed up on the world's biggest lithium-ion battery factory in the US state of Nevada.

In the latest period, Panasonic saw an increase in home appliance sales while operating profit was up at its auto division.

"The automotive sector has become a stable earnings driver," Akino said.

For the year to March 2018, the company expects a 160 billion yen net profit on revenue of 7.8 trillion yen.