Panasonic is likely to significantly scale-back its camera business, according to a report by Japan’s largest business newspaper. The Nikkei Asian Review says the move is one of the proposals of a report prepared by the company’s business planning department.
Like all large electronics makers, Panasonic has found it hard to make profit in an industry with increasingly tight margins. The report puts forth ways to rationalize and reorganize its business units to focus on the company’s areas of greatest strength.
The paper identifies three businesses: ‘digital cameras, private branch exchange telephone systems and optical disk drives,’ which, it says: ‘will be dismantled. Each will be scaled back and placed under the umbrella of other operations, with headcount to be reduced.’
With the number of compact cameras being sold having fallen precipitously and the interchangeable lens camera market stagnant, the digital camera division is an obvious target for cuts as part of the company’s restructuring.
The Nikkei also says that ‘In the chip business, the company is weighing unloading shares in a joint venture with an Israeli enterprise,’ presumably a reference to the TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor joint venture that builds CMOS sensors, among other things.
Panasonic’s financial year ends on March 31st, so we’ll be watching the announcement of its 2017/18 plans for signs of the report being implemented.
In response to the Nikkei story, Panasonic has put out the following statement:
‘The recent article featured on the Nikkei regarding Panasonic’s Imaging business was not announced by Panasonic and refers to a change in our internal organizational structure.
Integrating all consumer electronics divisions, our consumer Digital Imaging business will move under Panasonic Appliances Company and is not being dismantled.
The aim of this change is to further deepen our relationships with customers, strengthen our product capabilities, and continue to firmly develop and promote our business.’
While the company says the division is not being dismantled, it’s interesting to note that the statement does not contest the characterization that it will be scaled back. The statement also appears to confirm that some of the recommendations of the report are being implemented.
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