Pioneer, Matsushita to develop plasma panels-Nikkei

TOKYO March 7 (Reuters) - Pioneer Corp 6773.T and Panasonic brand maker Matsushita Electric Industrial Co 6752.T plan to jointly develop plasma panels, the Nikkei business daily said on Friday.

Pioneer, the world’s No. 5 maker of plasma TVs, has decided to cease making plasma panels, an industry source told Reuters earlier this week. [ID:nT227725]

The two firms are expected to develop low-cost and high-quality panels for shipment as early as 2009, and Pioneer engineers could be transferred to Matsushita, the paper said without citing sources.

Pioneer is likely to log a group net loss of roughly 8 billion yen ($77.72 million) for the year ending March -- its fourth straight loss -- due to 20 billion yen in impairment charges after closing its plasma panel production lines, the Nikkei also said.

It had previously forecast a net profit of 6 billion yen.

Pioneer’s operating profit would be about 10 billion yen, it said, as sales of its car electronics outweigh losses in its home electronics segment, it said.

Reporting by Mayumi Negishi; Editing by Tomasz Janowski