Panasonic to lay off 700 workers, but will keep its R&D in Singapore

Electronics giant Panasonic is shutting down its refrigeration compressor manufacturing operations in Singapore, resulting in the layoffs of some 700 workers.

However, its global headquarters for the refrigeration compressor business and research and development activities will remain here, it said in a statement yesterday.

Singapore remains a regional and important hub for the conglomerate, with its group of companies continuing to have more than 1,400 employees across various business segments here.

The layoffs represent about one-third of its total workforce here, where the Japanese company's Asia-Pacific headquarters is located.

The decision comes amid the challenging global business outlook and following the company's strategic review of its refrigeration compressor business portfolio, Panasonic said.

Affected employees, who work in roles such as production control and process engineering, were notified in four separate 45-minute sessions yesterday.

Around half of these workers are Singaporean, while another 13 per cent are permanent residents.


The last working day for the first batch of retrenched staff will be on March 31 next year, while the last day for the second batch of affected workers will be on Sept 30 next year.

Panasonic said it will consolidate the compressor manufacturing operations in its existing facilities in Malaysia and China.

Panasonic Appliances Refrigeration Devices Singapore (PAPRDSG) was set up in 1972, and currently produces compressors for household fridges and freezers at its facilities in Bedok South Road and Gul Road.

The company said it is working closely with government agencies, the relevant authorities and the United Workers of Electronics and Electrical Industries trade union to ensure all affected staff are well supported during this period, including assisting with job placements.

Mr Khoo Chew Thong, adviser for R&D and quality administration at PAPRDSG, told The Straits Times about 60 per cent of staff being laid off are aged 50 or older, and another 30 per cent are between 30 and 50 years old.

PAPRDSG has around 760 employees, of whom 12 per cent are based at the Gul Road plant.