Matsushita sees strong overseas holiday sales

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TOKYO, Nov 21 (Reuters) Panasonic-brand maker Matsushita said it aims for double-digit growth in overseas sales in the crucial October to December quarter on brisk demand for plasma TVs and DVD recorders.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co is also aiming to market washing machines and refrigerators in Europe in the business year starting in April to help drive its sales, Matsushita Managing Director Hitoshi Otsuki told Reuters in an interview.

Otsuki is in charge of Matsushita's overseas operations.

The double-digit growth target for the current quarter, an important period for consumer electronics makers, compares with 0.5 percent overseas sales growth in the corresponding quarter a year earlier.

Matsushita, the world's largest consumer electronics maker with annual sales of 9.1 trillion yen ( billion) in the year ended March, earns about half of its revenue outside Japan.

''We used to depend a little too much on plasma TVs (in the United States) ... But now, other products such as DVD recorders, digital cameras and home theatre systems are growing into additional pillars,'' Otsuki said on Wednesday.

Matsushita is the No.1 plasma TV maker whose rivals include Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and LG Electronics Inc.

In its home appliances business, the Osaka-based company aims to launch washing machines and refrigerators in Europe, the home turf of Electrolux AB, next business year in a bid to repeat its success in Japan and Asian countries, Otsuki said.

Matsushita's home appliances business accounted for 13.5 percent of its total sales in the past business year.

Before Otsuki's comments, shares in Matsushita closed down 4.8 percent at 2,170 yen, underperforming the Tokyo stock market's electrical machinery index, which fell 2.7 percent.


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