Panasonic brand to focus on 3G, close 2.5G plants

Matsushita Electronic Industrial, maker of the Panasonic brand, will reduce its production of mobile handsets, discontinuing the manufacture of 2.5G GSM phones to focus on handsets based on the 3G platform. Due to tough competition, the Japanese-based company plans to focus on its domestic operations, layoff approximately 1,400 workers and close down plants in the Philippines, Czech Republic, the US and the UK. Its plant in Beijing will switch platforms from 2.5G GSM to 3G. The estimated cost of the restructuring is $83 million, and the company expects benefits of approximately $58 million. Matsushita had already done some restructuring earlier this year that resulted in growing the company's net profit by one-third for the three months up to September.

For more on Panasonic's new focus on 3G:
- read this article from the AP