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Rating Action:

Moody's assigns issuer rating of Baa1 to Pioneer

01 Jul 2008
Moody's assigns issuer rating of Baa1 to Pioneer

Tokyo, July 01, 2008 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned a Baa1 local currency issuer rating to Pioneer Corporation (Pioneer). The rating outlook is stable.

The rating reflects Pioneer's strong presence and solid profitability in car electronics products, such as audio/visual (AV) products and navigation systems, as well as a healthy balance sheet. The rating also incorporates the challenges the company faces in the home electronics segment, in the form of severe competition with global players and ongoing price declines.

Pioneer has leading market positions in car AV products and navigation systems in the consumer market. This helps the company maintain solid profitability in its car electronics segment, which accounted for 48% of its consolidated sales in FY2007. The company is strong in high-end products based on its advanced technology and sophisticated brand image. It also maintains an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) business with leading automobile makers, which enhances the efficiency and stability of the car electronics business.

At the same time, Pioneer's profitability is pressured by severe business conditions in the home electronics segment, especially its display business. The company's operating margin has remained weak at around 1.5%, due mainly to losses in the home electronics segment, which accounted for 43% of consolidated sales in FY2007.

To deal with severe market competition in the home electronics market, Pioneer formed a capital and business alliance with Sharp Corporation (A1) in 2007. It also announced restructuring plans for its display business in early 2008, which included the termination of its in-house plasma display panel (PDP) production and the procurement of the panels for its PDP TVs from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Aa2).

Moody's expects that these strategic alliances, along with the company's restructuring efforts, will help Pioneer improve the cost structure of its display business and better manage downside risk over the medium term. However, Moody's views that profit recovery in the home electronics business may take some time, despite the expected improvement in the company's cost structure, due to the cutthroat competition in digital AV products.

Pioneer has a healthy capital structure and strong liquidity, supported by a conservative financial policy. Moody's expects that Pioneer will maintain its sound financial position although the restructuring cost of the display business may have a negative impact in the short term.

Pioneer Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading manufacturer of car electronics and home electronics products.

Tokyo
Shinsuke Tanimoto
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Japan K.K.
JOURNALISTS: (03) 5408-4110
SUBSCRIBERS: (03) 5408-4100

Tokyo
Tomomichi Nagaoka
Senior Vice President
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Japan K.K.
JOURNALISTS: (03) 5408-4110
SUBSCRIBERS: (03) 5408-4100

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