Embattled Panasonic eyes 10,000 layoffs to return to health

The company plans to axe the jobs by the end of March as it tries to emerge from under one-fifth of its divisions losing money, according to Reuters interview with its finance boss.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

Panasonic will reportedly layoff more employees in an attempt to turn its business around.

Speaking to Reuters in an interview published today, Panasonic finance boss Hideaki Kawai said that his company will shed 10,000 more jobs by the end of March. During its last fiscal year, Panasonic axed 36,000 jobs. The layoffs are designed to bring the company's many ailing divisions back to health, according to Reuters.

That might not be so easy. According to Reuters, Kawai said that 20 percent of Panasonic's 88 business units are actually losing money. Half of all of its units have yet to hit an operating margin target of 5 percent.

Panasonic's troubles have been well-documented over the last several quarters. The company is losing money at an alarming rate -- it expects to post a $10 billion loss this fiscal year, alone -- and has been saying for months that it's trying to right its ship. So far, however, that hasn't happened.

In addition to layoffs, Kawai told Reuters that the company will sell off assets worth up to 110 billion yen (about $1.4 billion) before the end of March. The cash should help Panasonic address its massive debt, which currently stands at over 1 trillion yen.

Panasonic isn't alone in its troubles. Another Japanese firm, Sharp, reported to shareholders earlier this month that there is "material doubt" that it may be able to continue as a "going concern."