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New Plasma Strategy By Hitachi

New Plasma Strategy By Hitachi

Hitachi Ltd who recently quit the Australian market after reporting losses of over $900 million during the past 12 months is now trying to flog their manufacturing capability to anyone who will buy it.

The owners of plasma patents and the world’s fourth-largest maker of plasma-screen Hitachi plans to sell its plasma displays to other TV makers, including those in China, to turn around its money-losing flat-panel business.

Hitachi plans to sell 500,000 panels to other TV makers in the six months ending March 31 next year and another 1.2 million units in the year ending March 31, 2010, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement at the weekend.

Hitachi and rival Pioneer  are losing money on plasma-screen TVs as bigger companies including Panasonic, the world’s largest plasma TV maker, and No. 2 Samsung offer lower prices and ship more units to retailers.

“Pursuing volume in sales isn’t our priority any more,” Makoto Ebata, vice president of Hitachi’s information and digital media division, told reporters in Tokyo. “Raising profitability is now our priority.”

Hitachi cut its full-year profit forecast by 75 percent on Tuesday and said expenses for restructuring its unprofitable flat-panel TV business will reduce earnings by US$280 million in the year ending March 31.

Earnings for the six months ended Sept. 30 were reduced by about Y15 billion due to costs related to stopping production at an older plasma-TV panel factory in Miyazaki Prefecture in southwestern Japan.

Hitachi said yesterday it has set an 80 percent utilization ratio for another of its plasma-panel factories in Miyazaki for the year ending March 2010, up from the present rate of less than 70 percent.

Hitachi, which also makes liquid-crystal-display (LCD) televisions, said yesterday it is targeting sales of 3.6 million flat-panel TVs in fiscal 2010.

It aims to sell 2 million LCD TVs in the 12 months to March 31, 2011, and 1.6 million plasma panel sets, Hitachi said.