TOKYO (AP) — Japanese consumer electronics giant Panasonic Corp. said Wednesday that its net profit surged more than eight-fold last quarter, helped by the weaker yen and a one-time boost from a change in its corporate pension scheme.
The company also credited strength in its automotive and housing-related divisions for helping to offset weakness in sales of its traditional business of electronic appliances.
The 107.8 billion yen ($1.1 billion) profit in April-June compared with a 12.8 billion net profit in the same period a year earlier, an increase of 842 percent. The company said the change in the pension scheme — to one that pays out based on contributions rather than a predefined benefit — yielded a one-time gain of 79.8 billion yen ($810 million).
The Osaka-based company, which makes Viera TVs and Lumix digital cameras, is battling plunging prices and weak sales in Japan, despite a nascent economic recovery. It says it is making progress in trimming its unprofitable businesses.
The modest economic recovery since late last year, attributed to stimulus policies championed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has helped, said Hideaki Kawai, Panasonic's managing director in charge of accounting and finance.
"The general feeling is that things are getting better," he said. "But from here on out we are looking for an impact from other measures such as reducing corporate taxes."
Panasonic's sales rose 1 percent to 1.82 trillion yen ($18.5 billion). An 8 percent increase in overseas sales helped offset a 6 percent decline in domestic revenue.
Sales at the company's "eco-solutions" business, which makes energy efficient products such as solar panels and LED bulbs, rose 6 percent and profit from the business jumped more than three-fold. Panasonic said demand was fueled by higher electricity prices.