2. SOUNDBITE: (Japanese) Fumio Ohtsubo, President of Panasonic Corporation:
"The fiscal Year 2008 was affected by recession started from financial crisis, pressure of low-priced products, shift of demand to emerging market and drastic system change of the market by demand for green technology."
3. Cutaway of reporters
4. SOUNDBITE: (Japanese) Fumio Ohtsubo, President of Panasonic Corporation:
"We will continue to act with speed and throughout to abolish unprofitable business and to realign our global locations."
Panasonic Corporation swung deep into the red last fiscal year, joining the expanding club of big Japanese brands shellshocked by their rapid descent from cash cow to money loser.
The world's biggest plasma TV maker on Friday reported a 378.96 (b) billion yen (four (b) billion US dollars) loss for the fiscal year ended March, its
first loss in seven years, and expects to stay in the red in the current year.
Business slumped across all segments amid lacklustre demand for everything from flat-screen TVs and digital cameras to home appliances and semiconductors.
Sales were down 14.4 percent to 7.77 trillion yen, and operating profit tumbled 86 percent to 72.9 (b) billion yen.
For the January-March quarter, Panasonic booked a record net loss of 444.3 (b) billion yen compared with a profit of 61.6 (b) billion yen a year earlier.
The results represent a swift reversal of fortune for Panasonic, which just last year posted a record net profit of 281.9 (b) billion yen.
But it is only the latest among a score of bellwether brands in Japan releasing grim results as the world's second-biggest economy gets battered by the unprecedented slump in global demand.
On Thursday, rival Sony Corporation said it lost one (b) billion yen last fiscal year.
Toyota Motor Corporation, meanwhile, swung from a record profit to its worst annual loss since being founded in 1937.
Panasonic vowed to press ahead with "drastic business structural reforms" to try to engineer a recovery.
For the 12 months through March 2010, it forecasts a steeper-than-expected net loss of 195 (b) billion yen on sales of 7 (t) trillion yen.
It predicts, however, that operating profit will climb 3 percent to 75 (b) billion yen.
President Fumio Ohtsubo has said he wants to shutter unprofitable business lines, shift resources to those with growth potential and improve product quality.
The firm is closing factories and aims to cut about 5 percent of its 300-thousand-strong global work force by next spring.
The fiscal Year 2008 was affected by recession started from financial crisis, pressure of low-priced products, shift of demand to emerging market and drastic system change of the market by demand for green technology," he said.
The electronics maker is also awaiting legal clearance for its nine (b) billion US dollars takeover of smaller Japanese rival Sanyo Electric Company.
The deal would create one of the world's biggest electronics companies and enable Panasonic to add Sanyo's strengths in "green" energy technology.
Along with the foreign exchange and economic factors, the company blamed its net loss on high restructuring costs.