By Zsarlene B. Chua, Reporter
THE Philippine unit of Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. expects a slowdown in growth this year, amid concerns over the government’s proposal to rationalize fiscal incentives as part of the tax reform program.
“Honestly speaking, the growth percentage might slightly slow down compared to previous years but we’re still growing,” Masaru Toyota, vice-president for sales at Panasonic Manufacturing Philippines Corp. (PMPC), told BusinessWorld during the launch of the company’s new line of home appliances at Conrad Hotel, Pasay City on Thursday.
In the first semester (April to September) of its fiscal year 2018, the listed company reported its sales grew by 10% to P5.86 billion versus P5.31 billion during the same period in 2017. It attributed this growth to the 114% and 128% rise in sales of consumer and business-to-business products, respectively.
However, PMPC reported its net income dropped 51% to P73.74 million due to a 3.5% rise in cost of sales ratio, lower sales and continued peso devaluation.
Mr. Toyota said the sales growth last year was due to the popularity of Panasonic refrigerators and air conditioners.
He said taxes are a key issue “but compared to other countries, the Philippines is still keeping a very high growth ratio.”
Despite the expected slowdown, Mr. Toyota said Panasonic remains bullish on the Philippines as the company will start locally manufacturing low-frost refrigerators and fully-automated washing machines.
PMPC, which has plants in Taytay, Rizal and Sta. Rosa, Laguna, currently produces window-type air conditioners and select product lines of refrigerators, washing machines and electric fans.
Mr. Toyota said the company will also push its beauty care line which was introduced last year, and includes Panasonic pore cleansers, hair dryers and facial steamers.
“For the moment [this segment] is not popular enough but I feel there’s a big potential so this year, we’ll really strongly promote this category,” he said.