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Panasonic lifts earnings forecast on Blue Yonder valuation, cost cuts

Panasonic Corp. Chief Financial Officer Hirokazu Umeda speaks during an online press conference on Oct. 28, 2021. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Panasonic Corp. raised on Thursday its earnings forecast for the business year through next March, lifting its net profit outlook by 14.3 percent to 240 billion yen ($2.1 billion) on an upwardly revised valuation of supply chain management firm Blue Yonder Holdings Inc. acquired earlier in the year, cost cuts and brisk electric car battery sales.

    The figure was revised upward from the company's earlier estimate released in May of 210 billion yen. The new outlook represents a 45.4 percent growth from the previous year.

    Sales, revised up by 4.3 percent to 7.3 trillion yen, will be a 9.0 percent increase on year, while the newly projected operating profit of 370 billion yen, lifted by 12.1 percent from an earlier estimate, will be a 43.1 percent growth from the last business year.

    "Strong demand in EV batteries offset a loss in auto car part sales, which had declined due to an overall drop in production across automakers," Chief Financial Officer Hirokazu Umeda said during an online press briefing.

    For the first half through Sept. 30, the automotive segment covering in-vehicle equipment and electric car batteries, considered one of the key growth areas for Panasonic, saw an operating profit of 7.1 billion yen, turning around from a loss of 4.4 billion yen a year earlier.

    The Osaka-based firm is a key supplier of batteries to Tesla Inc. and has been ramping up production of batteries for the U.S. automaker, which reported record earnings for its third quarter last week, and its market capitalization hit $1 trillion on Monday.

    Operating profit for home appliances such as washing machines declined to 45.5 billion yen from 51.0 billion yen the previous year.

    However, the yen's recent weakness against the U.S. dollar is expected to lift sales of electronic appliances in Japan and Asia despite a rise in raw material costs and weaker demand, Umeda said.

    Panasonic's net profit in the April to September period jumped to 153.04 billion yen from 48.86 billion yen a year earlier.

    Its operating profit more than doubled to 201.20 billion yen after sales increased 15.5 percent to 3.53 trillion yen.

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