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Pioneer Ends Plasma Production, Expands Loudspeakers

A meeting of Pioneer Corp.'s board of directors has resulted in a restructuring of the company's display business and discontinuation of its internal plasma display production. Instead the directors plan to enhance Pioneer's position in other areas of electronics.

A meeting of Pioneer Corp.'s board of directors has resulted in a restructuring of the company's display business and discontinuation of its internal plasma display production. Instead the directors plan to enhance Pioneer's position in other areas of electronics.

According to the company, maintaining the cost competitiveness of plasma display panels at projected sales volumes would be difficult going forward. As a result the board of directors decided to terminate in-house plasma display production and procure the panels from outside sources. Production will cease after its next series of models is complete. Pioneer also plans to streamline the entire display business to a scale commensurate with sales, and compensate for cutbacks in the plasma display business by driving further expansion in its growth businesses.

Among its expansion plans, according to company officials, Pioneer aims to increase sales of Blu-ray-related products and focus on producing loudspeakers for home use. As its loudspeaker profitability increases, the company will also focus on moving into new product categories of business-use loudspeakers.

The final element of expansion will be to capitalize on the business alliance Pioneer formed with Sharp in 2007 by conducting joint product development that effectively uses each other's resources. Such initiatives will include taking part in Sharp's development of acoustic systems for ultra-thin, flat-panel TVs using ultra-thin loudspeakers.

Pioneer will book an impairment loss on plasma display production facilities in fiscal 2008, the year ending March 31, 2008. In fiscal 2009, the company will streamline the plasma display business and shift resources to growth businesses. Pioneer doesn't expect to see significant benefits of their planned changes until fiscal 2010.



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