Japan: Solar helps Panasonic trim costs

But, despite the slackening in the Old World, the group’s energy division – which includes solar – mirrored the performance of the parent with profits rising despite falling sales.
In energy, as with the group as a whole, cost reductions and streamlining of material costs helped pull off the trick. And with the price of polysilicon continuing to tank, the reductions to be found in Panasonic‘s solar business will have helped offset falling domestic demand for the Japanese manufacturer’s flat panel TVs and Blu-Ray DVD recorders.
Sales in the energy division fell 6% to Yen434.8 billion (US$4.72bn) on the same period in 2011, but profits rose to Y6.4bn compared to a 2011 nine-month loss of Y16.7bn. For the group as a whole, sales fell 9% to Y5,439.7bn with operating profits up to Y122bn from Y39.5bn.
However, the group’s pre-tax loss of Y269.4bn (compared to Y350.5bn) for the period was blamed largely on falling demand for photovoltaics and lithium-ion batteries as well as mobile phone products.