During the last quarter of 2019, Panasonic noted a decrease of revenues, but managed to improve its profits (year-over-year):
- Sales (down 8%): 1,911 billion yen ($17.56 billion)
- Operating profit (up 3%): 100.4 billion yen ($920 million)
- Net profit (up 29%): 77.2 billion yen ($710 million)
Our focus is on the Automotive category, which includes lithium-ion batteries for xEVs. The entire segment continues to struggle - as you can see below, sales shrunk by 7% to 366.2 billion yen ($3.36 billion) and the category remains unprofitable.
The good thing is that the Automotive Batteries subcategory brings some positives.
"For Automotive, sales and profit increased for cylindrical batteries. However, overall sales and profit decreased due to lower sales at Automotive Solutions mainly from market slowdown, and factors such as increased fixed costs related to prismatic batteries with the production start of high-capacity cells."
Panasonic Q4 2019 results
Segment info - Automotive batteries
Panasonic reports an increase in automotive battery sales (sadly there are no detailed numbers for the subcategory). The main factor is an increase of 21700 cylindrical cell type sales/production in North America at the Tesla Gigafactory. The production lines for Tesla are now profitable not only on a monthly basis, but for the entire Q4 2019.
On the other hand, cylindrical cells produced in Japan (the 18650 type), for cars like the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X, continue to decrease. The decrease affected also prismatic batteries in North America.
- "In Automotive Batteries, overall sales increased. Sales increase of cylindrical batteries from the investment effect of production expansion at the North America factory for Tesla exceeded sales decrease from Japan factory and prismatic batteries downturn in North America.
- Adjusted operating profit decreased overall. It increased for cylindrical batteries with profit from sales increase at the North America factory exceeding impact of sales decrease from Japan factory. But it decreased for prismatic batteries due mainly to increased fixed costs with the production start of high-capacity cells at the Himeji factory.
- The North America factory managed to turn profitable for the third quarter overall, exceeding our aim to become profitable on a monthly basis during the second half, as mentioned at the second quarter results announcement."