Japan's Matshushita eyes worldwide restructuring

Japanese electronics giant Matsushita Electric is reviewing its 170 overseas manufacturing plants to assess their profitability and decide which to close under a major restructuring effort led by its new president, a company spokesman, quoted by an Associated Press report said.

The  company, which is the maker of the Panasonic brand, is targeting an operating profit ratio of 10% by the fiscal year ending in March 2011 under the leadership of Fumio Ohtsubo, who took office as president in June, spokesman Akira Kadota said.

Matsushita Electric, based in Osaka, now has an operating profit ratio of about 5%, the report said.

The company has decided to calculate a plant's profitability and is reviewing all its plants, including those in North America, Europe and the rest of Asia, to see whether they should stay open, Kadota said.

Matsushita has embarked on an overhaul of its business over the last several years and has boosted profits, led by the stellar sales of digital electronics products such as plasma display TVs and DVD recorders.

Much of the production of such high-end products is at Japanese plants, and Matsushita is considering closing money-losing overseas plants such as those producing old-style cathode-ray tube TVs.