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Panasonic VieraJapan-based Panasonic announced today that it will cut 17,000 jobs worldwide through March 2013 and reduce the number of its business divisions from five to three.

Panasonic reported a $499 million loss for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011, largely due to $61 billion in restructuring costs. The restructuring will be done during fiscal year 2012. Panasonic expects that synergies from the restructuring will contribute $735 million to its annual operating profit.

The company said that the Japanese earthquake and tsunami had an impact of at least $258 million. Operations at Panasonic’s factories have been recovering but disruptions in the supply chain still affect the company’s operations.

The company could not give any forecasts to fiscal year 2012 because the full damage of the disaster cannot yet be calculated. Panasonic has been hurt by competition from South Korea, including Samsung and LG.

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