Panasonic expects annual profit to halve on coronavirus hit

A man is seen next to Panasonic Corp's logo at Panasonic Center in Tokyo, Japan, February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Files

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Panasonic Corp said on Thursday it expects operating profit to drop 48.9% this financial year, as the pandemic hits its wide-ranging businesses from home appliances to automotive batteries.

A leading supplier of battery cells to Tesla Inc, Panasonic forecast operating profit of 150 billion yen ($1.4 billion) for the year through March 2021, down from 293.75 billion yen last year.

The forecast is lower than the 196.04 billion yen average of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv Eikon.

($1 = 105.2100 yen)

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; editing by Jason Neely