Panasonic may stop making mobiles for Europe to cut losses

Sources have told Reuters that Panasonic could stop making mobiles for Europe to cut its losses.

Panasonic could stop making mobile phones for sale in Europe in the next six months, according to sources, Reuters reports.

Why? The Japanese giant isn't making any money from mobiles. Kazuhiro Tsuga, Panasonic's boss, has pledged to cut parts of the business that aren't profitable, with a restructuring plan expected by the end of March.

Panasonic only launched mobiles in Europe earlier this year, with its Eluga and Eluga Power handsets. (It sold mobiles around the world previously, but stopped doing so in 2005.) Analysts estimate Panasonic has pumped around £500 million into its mobile arm, with the company aiming to sell 1.5 million smart phones this financial year. As recently as December Panasonic said it wanted to increase mobile phone sales to 15 million by March 2016, with overseas accounting for 9 million of those.

Reuters' sources have said that's probably not going to happen.

Despite the tough economic climate, Panasonic estimates it'll have an annual operating profit of 260bn yen, which is just over £2bn. That might not seem that much for a company of this size, but it's still better than some.

On Wednesday it'll release its results for the quarter ending 30 September.

The Eluga and Eluga Power didn't set the world alight, but they are both waterproof, which should be handy considering what a typical British winter is like. The Eluga Power comes with Android Ice Cream Sandwich, and packs a 5-inch screen too, riding the trend for bigger blowers.

As you'd expect from the company that makes the ace Lumix range of compact cameras, the in-built imaging tech on both handsets is pretty great as well.

Will it be a shame if Panasonic stops selling mobile phones in Europe, or wouldn't you notice? Let me know what you reckon in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.