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Panasonic throws in towel on plasma tellies, preps for BILLION-dollar kick in pants

Strong yen pulling rug from under Japanese tech firm

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Panasonic is reportedly planning to pull out of the plasma TV business by the end of the financial year.

The TV market has proved more and more unprofitable for once-dominant Japanese consumer electronics firms and Panasonic was expected to give up on the plasma display industry at some point, though its exit is sooner than anticipated.

Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that the firm would leave tellies behind by March 2014, when it would take an impairment loss of over 40bn yen ($410.9m) on its last remaining factory. The money will likely come out of the 120bn yen ($1.23bn) fund it set aside at the start of the year to cover restructuring.

Panasonic's plasma tellies have taken hits from all sides. LCD TVs have left plasma models far behind, accounting for 87 per cent of global shipments in 2012, according to DisplaySearch.

At the same time, Japanese firms have seen all their total telly business fall as the strong yen makes them less competitive with rivals like South Korea's Samsung. Sony, Sharp and Panasonic now hold less than 20 per cent of the flatscreen TV market, while Samsung has 27.7 per cent and LG has 15 per cent. ®

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