Tokyo: Panasonic rose the most in six weeks in Tokyo trading after the Nikkei newspaper reported it's considering an exit from the plasma television business and may sell its healthcare business.
Panasonic jumped as much as 4.9 per cent to ¥722, headed for the biggest advance since February 4. The stock traded at ¥708 in Tokyo and has jumped 36 per cent this year.
The company is "seeking various growth strategies for the TV business," spokeswoman Chieko Gyobu said yesterday.
It's considering options for the growth of its health-care unit, spokeswoman Megumi Kitagawa said on Sunday, declining to comment on whether it could be sold.
Japan's No. 2 TV maker is cutting jobs and reducing its number of business units as it forecasts a net loss of ¥765 billion in the fiscal year ending March amid competition from Apple and Samsung Electronics.
The company is considering exiting the plasma TV business while reducing production of liquid-crystal displays and increasing outsourcing to companies including LG Electronics, the Nikkei reported yesterday, without citing anyone.
It's considering selling the unit that markets devices to check blood sugar levels and hearing aids for as much as ¥100 billion ($1.1 billion), the newspaper said, without citing anyone. That would be part of the plan to accelerate selling 'non-core' businesses, the Nikkei reported.
"The direction is right for Panasonic to try to generate cash by selling and restructuring its business and I feel positive about this direction," said Koki Shiraishi, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities. "I still worry about speed, because cash generated in this way needs time to find buyers." LG Electronics gained 3.5 per cent to 81,900 won in Seoul trading, the most since January 2.
Private equity funds such as KKR & Company may be interested in buying the health-care unit, the Nikkei reported. A telephone call to Steven Oken, a KKR spokesman in Hong Kong, outside business hours on Sunday was answered by a recorded message.
The healthcare unit reported an operating loss of 8.8 billion yen for the fiscal year ended March 2012, on sales of ¥133.6 billion, Nikkei said. Panasonic earlier this month agreed to sell a building in Tokyo for about 50 billion yen to Sumitomo Mitsui Finance & Leasing and Nippon Building Fund