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Matsushita to Reopen Plants Closed due to SARS
Jun 2, 2003
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Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said it will resume operations Saturday morning at the two joint-venture manufacturing plants in Beijing where five staffers were recently diagnosed with SARS.

Matsushita suspended operations at the two plants on May 17. The Japanese consumer electronics company expects the two plants to return to normal in about 1 week.

The reopening will be a relief for Matsushita, which is pinning big hopes for midterm growth on its overseas operations, particularly China. One of the joint ventures, Beijing Matsushita Color CRT Co., or BMCC, accounts for more than 10% of Matsushita's overall revenue in China.

BMCC, where four of the five confirmed SARS patients work, makes cathode ray tubes for color televisions. BMCC's Beijing plant is Matsushita's largest in China, employing about 5,200 people. The other confirmed patient works for Beijing Matsushita Lighting Co., or BMLC, which makes fluorescent lamps and employs around 420 staff.

Matsushita decided to restart the plants as there have been no new suspected cases among staffers and their families for about two weeks from when the first patient was found, a company spokeswoman said. Beijing city officials and the labor union representing the plants' workers also approved of the plants' reopening, Matsushita said.

Matsushita has 53 companies in China employing about 51,000 people. (Dow Jones)

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