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Electronics group Pioneer to slash 10,000 jobs

Latest update : 2009-02-12

In the latest of a wave of layoffs by hard-hit Japanese companies, electronics giant Pioneer has announced that it will axe 10,000 jobs worldwide and pull out of the television market as a consequence of the global economic slowdown.

AFP - Japanese electronics giant Pioneer Corp. said Thursday it would cut 10,000 jobs worldwide and quit the television business as it braces for a record loss in the year to March.

The job losses are the latest in a wave of layoffs by Japanese companies as the global economic crisis batters Asia's largest economy.

Pioneer plans to axe about nine of its 30 production companies around the world and reduce its top management's pay by 20-50 percent.

"It's heartbreaking for us to withdraw from the display business, which we spearheaded, but the market is changing faster than we ever expected," said president Susumu Kotani.

The company forecast a net loss of 130 billion yen (1.4 billion dollars) for the current financial year to March, its biggest ever. The previous year it had made a loss of 18.0 billion yen.

Pioneer has had a hard time in recent years after being saddled with overcapacity in plasma display panels amid declining prices.

The firm decided last year to stop making its own plasma panels and fit its televisions with panels bought from Panasonic Corp. instead.

But it said it had decided to stop making televisions altogether because there were no prospects of turning around the business in the current climate.

The company is closing its plasma display production facilities in the United States and Britain and will focus on car electronics instead.

"Even though the auto market is still subdued, we expect the market will pick up by March 2011, after which there will be a new business opportunity in the areas of environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient cars," said Kotani.

"We hope to take up the new challenge using our position in the market and our technological advantages," he said.

In addition to car electronics, Pioneer will continue to develop audio products, disc jockey (DJ) equipment and cable television set-top boxes.

Japan's high-tech giants have been badly affected by the global economic slowdown, which has pushed down demand for their products and sent the yen soaring, eroding export earnings.

Pioneer posted a net loss of 79.13 billion yen for the nine months to December, compared with a year-earlier profit of 11.62 billion yen.

In the fiscal third quarter alone it lost 26.15 billion yen due to weak sales of car audio products, plasma displays and DVD drives.

Pioneer said it had already cut 5,900 regular jobs and 4,000 temporary posts between March and December 2008.

Other Japanese electronics makers including Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic and Hitachi have also reported losses and big job cuts due to the economic crisis.

Date created : 2009-02-12