Panasonic Net Profit Surges Despite Strong Yen

Lower materials costs helped propel earnings

TOKYO -- Panasonic, Japan's biggest home appliance maker, said Friday its quarterly profit surged more than fivefold on strong consumer demand despite the strong yen and intensifying competition.

Panasonic Corp. said Friday it made a profit of 31 billion yen ($384.3 million) in the three months through September, up from 6.1 billion yen the year before.

Quarterly revenue rose 27% year-on-year to 2.21 trillion yen on strong demand for Panasonic products including flat-panel TVs, automotive electronics, Blu-ray Disc recorders and air conditioners.

Lower materials costs and other expenses helped offset the impact of growing price competition and an appreciating yen, which hit a 15-year high against the dollar during the quarter.

"During the second quarter, the global economy continued to recover gradually due mainly to economic stimulus ... programs" despite uncertainty in developed economies, said the Osaka-based company in its announcement.

Panasonic left its forecasts for the fiscal year through March 2011 unchanged at a profit of 85 billion yen on sales of 8.9 trillion yen.

Before the earnings release, Panasonic shares fell 1.2% to 1,183 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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