Strong sales put Matsushita in black

TOKYO — Electronics giant Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said Thursday it reversed the losses it posted in 1995 after it sold the MCA Inc. film studio to mark a profit gain in 1996. Matsushita posted a group net profit of 137.85 billion yen ($1.18 billion) for the year ended March 31, 1997.

The company said cost-cutting, a weakened yen along with strong domestic and international sales put the company back in the black after posting a 56.87 billion yen ($490 million) loss for the previous year.

Matsushita sells its consumer goods under the National and Panasonic brand names.

Group net sales tallied 7.68 trillion yen ($66.2 billion) for the year, a jump of 13 % from the previous year.

Matsushita’s rival, Sony Corp., reported earlier this month a record group pretax profit for the 1996 business year, with the depreciation of the yen and strong across-the-board sales increases helping propel the company to a 126.1% profit jump from the previous year.

Sony said sales and operating revenue were up by 23.3% to hit 5.66 trillion yen or $45.67 billion, due to higher sales in its major operating markets in Japan, the United States and Europe.

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