Panasonic’s P-Day approaches

On March 29th, Sanyo Electric’s stock listing will vanish from the world’s trading bourses. Two days later, on April 1st its business will be formally rolled into a new Japanese giant electronics company: Panasonic Corp. Panasonic Corp is also using the opportunity fully to absorb its own sister company Panasonic Electric Works into the parent.

The new business is a true behemoth, with 380,000 staff and a business that has revenues approaching $109bn (about 9 trillion Yen), and only just behind arch-rival Samsung of South Korea’s 11 trillion Yen.

Friday March 4th, at a shareholders meeting in Osaka, Sanyo Electric’s president Seiichiro Sano talked about taking upon rivals such as Samsung.  “Expect fierce competition with our rivals from South Korea and China even in our strong fields,” he said. “The move to become a wholly owned subsidiary is meant to bring the three companies together as one to compete on the world stage.”

That the three merged businesses will have teething troubles is wholly expected. Panasonic is already on record as saying that its workforce must be trimmed, and there are problems between average salary pay-level differentials between Sanyo and Panasonic. There are also product harmonies to be achieved, and one area that is proving contentious is in the two outfit’s consumer video cameras where Panasonic is adopting Sanyo’s Xacti styling, which doesn’t please the Sanyo part of the merged operation.

Nevertheless, over the next few months the existing 16 business division will be reorganised into 13 sub-sets of Panasonic Corp, and Panasonic boss Fumio Ohtsubo told a Japanese publication that: “Energy arises out of friction, and that leads to organizational evolution. Let us create healthy friction.”

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