Panasonic unsure when can restart protest-damaged Qingdao plant

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 20, 2012 9:16 PM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Panasonic Corp <6752.T> said it did not know when it will be able to resume production at its protest-damaged factory in the Chinese port city of Qingdao, and it could not yet give an estimate on how the plant closure will affect its earnings.

Anti-Japan protesters had ripped out and bashed equipment and supplies at the Qingdao plant, which makes electronic parts such as switches, the struggling maker of Viera TVs said in a statement on Friday.

A flare-up in a diplomatic row over a group of East China Sea islands, called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan, triggered mass protests in China and heightened maritime tensions as Chinese boats approached waters claimed by Japan.

Panasonic restarted some production at its partially damaged circuit board plant in Suzhou, eastern China, on Monday, and it said it plans to restart soon its telephone factory in Zhuhai, southeastern China, where about 10 Chinese workers had demonstrated.

Smarting from a strong yen, Panasonic is racing to streamline costs to catch up to bigger rival Samsung Electronics Co <005930.KS>, after posting a record net loss in the year ended in March.

(Reporting by Mayumi Negishi; Editing by Chris Gallagher)