PANASONIC has posted a £2.6bn loss – becoming the latest in a string of Japanese electrical firms to nosedive into the red amid tumbling global demand.
The firm reported the loss for the 12 months to the end of March, but warned of continuing difficulties this financial year.
It is a major reversal of fortune for Panasonic, which last year posted record profits of £2bn.
The company, which makes electronic products ranging from televisions to cameras, saw sales slump by 14.4%. Panasonic, in common with other Japanese manufacturers, was also been hit by the impact of a stronger yen.
Panasonic said it expected the economic environment in the forthcoming financial year to be even more severe – as the global recession and shrinking demand triggered by the financial crisis coincide with the expansion of emerging markets and a shift to lower-prices products.
The firm employs about 500 people in the UK, where it has sites in Berkshire and Northamptonshire.
Earlier this week, rival electronics firm Sony reported its first annual net loss in 14 years when it unveiled a £1bn deficit and forecast a bigger loss for this year.
Sony said it is closing three plants in Japan to help cut costs. It is also shedding 16,000 jobs.
Sanyo Electric, which is being bought by Panasonic, also posted losses this week – with a deficit of £643m for the financial year.