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Panasonic profits surge on auto sector


Panasonic on Monday reported quarterly gains in profits and sales thanks to a strong performance in its auto-related sector, confirming the Japanese electronics mainstay is on course for recovery.

The Osaka-based company is best known abroad for electronics, but has shifted to other sectors, including energy and an auto division that makes products from electrical components to navigation systems.

Panasonic, which suffered profit and sales falls in the previous fiscal year that ended in March, said net profit surged 67.1 percent to 48.8 billion yen ($441 million) for the April-June period.

Quarterly sales rose 5.1 percent to 1.87 trillion yen, while operating profit jumped 16.9 percent to 83.9 billion yen for the three months.

“The company achieved increases in both sales and operating profit mainly due to the growth of automotive-related business,” offsetting the negative impact from cost increases, Panasonic said in a statement.

The company left its annual outlook unchanged, forecasting net profit to increase to 160 billion yen for the fiscal year to March 2018 from 149 billion yen the year before.

Annual sales are seen at 7.8 trillion yen, also unchanged.

Panasonic is on a steady recovery path as “the current year is a solid stepping stone for further growth next year,” said Masahiko Ishino, senior analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Center.

Automotive products are bound to grow as carmakers launch new models, while operations are strengthening in the appliances division, Ishino told AFP ahead of the release.

Panasonic and US electric car maker Tesla have agreed to start working together on solar energy products.

The pair have already teamed up on the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery factory in the US state of Nevada.