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03-05-2014, 07:16 AM   #1
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Panasonic Next?

An interesting, brief outlook on NikonRumors.com, apparently Panny has sold 51% of their Imaging Division;
Panasonic on it's last leg - Other Manufacturers Discussions on Nikon Rumors Forum
And has a deadline to get the camera division back on track, or else.
Although the post also repeats oft-quoted, recent trade blurb that only Nikon, Canon and Sony can survive the digital camera shake-up, a following reply or two mentions that Olympus has turned their fortunes around and could now be considered healthier or more stable than Panny.
There is also a short four/thirds discussion, some don't agree that it will last, either.
No mention of you-know-who.
But, that's excusable, on a Nikon Forum.
A large, all-brand-inclusive digital camera forum? Not so much.
Ron

03-05-2014, 08:44 AM   #2
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Panasonic divested part of their semiconductor business. Specifically, 51% of three semiconductor plants (out of 16 plants Panasonic owned at the time).

They have not "sold off 51% of its Imaging Division".

Really, it's simple. Divesting 51% of three semiconductor plants does not equal selling 51% of Panasonic's "Imaging Division", no matter how you look at it.
03-05-2014, 11:45 AM   #3
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The relevant issue here is the ultimatum to the camera division to be profitable. How serious should this ultimatum be taken? Wouldn't it make more sense to simply follow Sony's example and mere the camera division with the video division? After all, Panasonic makes m43 camcorders as well. Even if they want to stop making still cameras, they're still going to need lenses for their m43 camcorders.

Even though Olympus seems to be doing better than Panasonic, it's Panasonic that has of late been releasing the more interesting products. Olympus' delay on filling out their pro lens lineup suggests serious capital shortage; Panasonic seems to be under no such limitations right now.
03-05-2014, 12:55 PM   #4
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QuoteQuote:
Wouldn't it make more sense to simply follow Sony's example and mere the camera division with the video division?
Sony and Panasonic Pro Video divisions are not the same as their camera divisions.
Sony | Showcase
Panasonic AJ-PX5000G - Video Recorders, Drives and Players

03-05-2014, 01:58 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jogiba Quote
They have not "sold off 51% of its Imaging Division"
Not only that, but the new joint venture that owns these three plants has a five year agreement to supply components to Panasonic for its cameras. This is a subcontracting deal where Panasonic gets cash and a guaranteed supply in return for losing exclusivity to the production of those three plants. Leica is already supplying optics for Panasonic cameras. This move is small potatoes compared to what Panasonic is doing with its television manufacturing, and the odds of seeing Panasonic branded cameras more than five years from now go up if selling fixed assets improves the profitability of the parent company.
QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
The relevant issue here is the ultimatum to the camera division to be profitable
Based on what verifiable information? In January 2013, Bloomberg reported that Panasonic "may pull out of businesses with operating margins of less than 5 percent by March 2016" based on a statement from Panasonic in October 2012. Panasonic CEO Says May Close Businesses in Bid to End Losses - Bloomberg For one thing, a 5% operating margin is the minimum for just about any commercial venture, otherwise shareholders are better off putting their money in mattresses. Having more than 40 months to get a business unit up to that minimum is more leeway than most global business managers have. Unless you are a member of the Chicken Little Society, this is a sign that Panasonic is sticking with conventional Japanese business practices of not panicking and thinking long term, even with their recent change of leadership.
03-05-2014, 07:48 PM   #6
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Panasonic and Sony are both suffering. Sony has 78% Chance to Go Bankrupt in Two Years, says Macroaxis | TechnoBuffalo

Both are very large companies and are successful in some areas and not doing well in others. The big problem for both are competition from Korean and Chinese manufacturers that have taken away most of the home electronics market. Cameras are just a small percentage of the businesses these two companies are involved with. There are also a lot of very conflicting financial stories floating around about both companies. It's hard to think of large successful companies like either going under but not long ago the idea of Kodak or GM going bankrupt seemed ludicrous also. Fortunes change very, very fast these days.
03-05-2014, 07:57 PM   #7
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Maybe if they'd price the GH4 and start selling it.

03-05-2014, 08:11 PM   #8
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This is a good illustration of two common fallacies. One, all online sources are given equal weight. Macroaxis is an online service that beautifully covers up the unpredictability of equity prices with fancy charts, impressive sounding verbiage and selective quantitative analysis of historical data. Even if its creators have found the best formula to describe what has happened up to this moment in time, attempts to apply that formula to the future will cause unforeseen effects that will counteract the formula. That's why quants, accountants and economists (and various combinations of those professions) don't control everything we do. Two, as much as we like to anthropomorphise large corporations, they really don't act like stupidly stubborn individuals who can't or won't change their behaviour even if it means their demise. And in the rare event that a well-established, diversified gobal corporation dies, no real people get killed, financial assets simply get redistributed.
03-06-2014, 08:12 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jogiba Quote
Sony and Panasonic Pro Video divisions are not the same as their camera divisions.
That's technically correct but misses the point. On Sony's financial statements, the video and camera divisions are combined, masking any potential financial issues with one or the other of these divisions. Since Sony combined these divisions into the "Imagining Products and Solutions" segment, complaints about Sony's camera division losing money have ceased, because nobody knows whether they're losing money or not (becauses possible losses in Sony's camera divsion could be masked by profits in their video division). It might make sense for Panasonic to do something along the same lines. In any case, if that ultimatum is for real, I don't see Panasonic's camera division making it past 2016 on its own.
03-06-2014, 08:39 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
And in the rare event that a well-established, diversified gobal corporation dies, no real people get killed, financial assets simply get redistributed
True in definition. But real people lose thier jobs, their pensions, their security and a goodly portion of their identities when a corporation fails. Directors and executives of these companies have an unwritten fiduciary duty to at least try to keep the entity alive fpr the benefit of stakeholders who have neither vote in decisions nor control of destiny.

Unfortunately my generation (as opposed to my father's generation) sees an employee as little more than a discounted future obligation - an expense - so that closing a company and distributing the capital assets to bondholders is a more 'profitable' and 'rational' outcome over the short term than running out the company for the long term. While I understand that that outcome is actually true, truth doesn't make it any less painful or obnoxious.

QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
It's hard to think of large successful companies like either going under but not long ago the idea of Kodak or GM going bankrupt seemed ludicrous also
Rational onlookers could ahve foretold both declines many years in advance. What could not be foreseen was the precise combination of factors, nor the time of thier presentation, that would catalyze the fall.
03-06-2014, 04:06 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Directors and executives of these companies have an unwritten fiduciary duty to at least try to keep the entity alive fpr the benefit of stakeholders who have neither vote in decisions nor control of destiny.
I'm probably as old as you (maybe older!), and I have to inform you that horse was let out of the barn a long, long time ago. Actually, it's the unwritten license to pad one's own financial assets at the expense of shareholders that ends up causing the most grief to powerless stakeholders like employees. If the corporation's bottom line is the golden rule, decisions generally work out better for the long-term health of the corporation, keeping employees employed longer, than decisions made to enhance the golden parachute of high profile executives. As for the two examples of failed companies, Kodak and GM, neither of them are dead at the moment. The global corporations that die permanently, like Enron, are seldom involved in actually making physical goods and they almost always have relatively short timelines.
03-06-2014, 04:18 PM   #12
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I've been doing what I do for a long, long time and my father and grandfather did what I do before me. I think we agree in principle. What has changed is the cultural assumption of correct behavior, which formerly was an aberrant exception (and at the end of the 19th C. was normal, expected behavior).
03-06-2014, 05:26 PM   #13
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QuoteQuote:
Kodak and GM, neither of them are dead at the moment.
GM is #1 in sales in the US and Kodak is dead. If Kodak is not dead show me a link to a product that they sell to consumers today.
http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html
03-06-2014, 06:23 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jogiba Quote
If Kodak is not dead show me a link to a product that they sell to consumers today
Why does it have to be consumers? Welcome to Kodak Worldwide Besides, you can still buy Kodak brand film KODAK 35mm Consumer Film
03-06-2014, 08:16 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
Why does it have to be consumers? Welcome to Kodak Worldwide Besides, you can still buy Kodak brand film KODAK 35mm Consumer Film
It doesn't have to be Daewoo and disappear completely.

If a company goes through bankruptcy proceedings, defaults on a portion of its debt, wipes out the equity holders, lays off a large percentage of its employees, defaults on all or a portion of their retirement benefits and accepts billions of dollars of 'loans' from the government (on which it ALSO subsequently defaults) I don't care if the brands are still made and the logo is still on the buildings. The company died.

Kodak's British pension fund owns the Consumer film division, purchased with help from the British government - which was a desperation move to preserve the pensions of the British employees. Americans are, for the most part, screwed. Kodak died.

FIAT bought Chrysler for virtually nothing after assumption of debt. Chrysler closed two plants in St. Louis in which they had invested $1 billion dollars just eighteen months earlier. 18,000 employees including the associated plants nearby. Chrysler died.

This article tells the story at General Motors - yes, still #1 in sales, but sinking to just a bit ahead of Ford. Chevy is slipping fast into oblivion. I'd like to buy a Cadillac but I don't trust them. I sure won't buy a Malibu when a Honda is every bit as good, or a Ford. Why on earth would I?
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