Panasonic Electric to shut 3 plants, cut 800 jobs

Panasonic Electric to shut 3 plants, cut 800 jobs

Tokyo: Panasonic Electric Works, the building materials unit of consumer electronics maker Panasonic Corp, said it will close three additional plants in Japan and cut 800 workers as a slowing economy hits demand.

The company, which sells lighting equipment, built-in kitchen systems and other building products, will carry out the plant closures and job cuts by the year ending March 2011, a Panasonic Electric spokesman said on Sunday.

The latest streamlining measures come on top of two factory shutdowns and elimination of 200 jobs so far in the current business year to March 2009, the spokesman said.

Of total job cuts of 1,000, 550 of them will be full-time positions.

Panasonic Electric Works, owned 51% by Panasonic Corp, the world’s no.1 plasma TV maker, has not decided which three of the remaining 13 domestic factories will be closed, he said.

Housing starts in Japan, battered by a regulatory change in 2007, were flat in November compared with a year earlier, far below a median forecast for an 8% rise.

Panasonic Electric Works in October cut its net profit forecast for the year to March 2009 by 12% to 38 billion yen, which would be down 16% on the year.