Panasonic raises profit outlook on sales rebound, cost cuts

Panasonic Corp on Tuesday raised its full-year operating profit forecast by more than a half after it streamlined operations and saw a recovery in sales.

The new forecast of 230 billion yen ($2.2 billion) compares with an earlier estimate of a 150 billion yen profit. It was also higher than a Refinitiv consensus forecast of 174.6 billion yen from 15 analysts.

While the coronavirus pandemic has hurt demand for some Panasonic products, such as in-flight entertainment systems and display panels, it has benefited from growing demand for electric vehicle batteries through its decade-old partnership with Tesla Inc.

Panasonic announced in October that it was developing a new battery cell designed by Tesla, with the U.S. company saying it would help halve battery costs and ramp up battery production 100-fold by 2030.

Panasonic’s shift away from its low-profit home electronics business to focus on housing fixtures, car electronics and batteries for electric vehicles has been overseen by outgoing Chief Executive Kazuhiro Tsuga.

The company announced in November that Tsuga would step down in April after nine years at the helm and that Yuki Kusumi, the current head of its automotive business, would take over.

For the three months ending Dec. 31 the company posted a 30% rise in operating profit to 130.2 billion yen, according to Reuters calculations. It easily beat a Refinitiv estimate of 74.6 billion yen from four analysts.

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