Matsushita Sells Facilities to ProLogis for $735 Million

Panasonic maker Matsushita Electric Industrial has sold 17 large distribution facilities in Japan to the local unit of real estate developer ProLogis for about 85 billion yen ($735 million).

Shares of Matsushita rose 1.6% to end the morning session at 2,185 yen after the news, compared with a 1.4% gain in the broader TOPIX index.

As Japanese corporations try to streamline their businesses and maximize resources, attention has been focused on real estate that represents a chunk of their balance sheets. As a result, many have redeveloped, leased or sold this fixed asset to boost profitability.

Matsushita, the world's largest consumer electronics company and its largest plasma TV maker, would invest the proceeds from the sale of its distribution centers in core businesses such as plasma screen TV operations, according to the business daily Nikkei.

Matsushita spokesman Akira Kadota said the move was part of the electronics maker's efforts to reduce assets but said it was not decided how the proceeds would be used.

According to management consultancy KPMG FAS, real estate account for 33% of total assets held by Japanese companies while the cost to maintain the property assets is high.

ProLogis, which started to invest in Japan in 2001, has been buying assets as demand for large and efficient distribution facilities remain strong. In April, the U.S. based company purchased eight distribution centers from cosmetics group Shiseido.