Panasonic will cut 15,000 jobs as it forecasts $4.3B loss

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Japanese electronics giant Panasonic on Wednesday forecast its first yearly loss in a long time and said it will slash jobs due to the worsening global economy.

The company plans to shed 15,000 jobs by the end of March, 2010 and shut factories in Japan amid slumping sales. Panasonic also forecast its first yearly net loss in six years, ¥380 billion (US$4.3 billion).

Sales fell dramatically in the fourth quarter, said the Japanese company, which changed its name from Matsushita Electric Industrial in October.

The company's sales for the fourth quarter fell 20 percent year-on-year to ¥1.88 trillion as it turned to a net loss ¥63.1 billion.

Panasonic blamed the decrease on a sharp downturn in consumer spending, increased price competition, rising raw material prices and a stronger yen.

The company will shut 27 factories worldwide, including 13 in Japan. It employed 307,444 people as of the end of 2008.

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