Panasonic sells buildings to raise about $100 million: sources

Japan's Panasonic Corp <6752.T> has sold two of its office buildings in central Tokyo to raise around $100 million as the company tries to improve its balance sheet by selling non-core assets, sources with direct knowledge of the transactions have told Reuters.

The sale is part of efforts by Panasonic to raise 130 billion yen from asset sales in a bid to underpin cash flow. Rival Sony Corp <6758.T> is in the process of selling one of its main buildings in central Tokyo in a deal that could raise up to 100 billion yen.

Panasonic sold a five-storey building in Tokyo's Minato ward to Mitsubishi Estate Co <8802.T> and another eight-storey property in the same neighborhood to Nomura Real Estate Holdings Inc <3231.T>, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the transactions are not public.

The Osaka-based Panasonic is also considering selling its much larger office building in Tokyo's Shiodome district, which houses about 2,000 workers and serves as its Tokyo headquarters, sources have told Reuters.

These buildings have become available for sale at a time investors are becoming more willing to buy properties in Tokyo on expectations property prices will rise in the near future. ($1 = 93.3950 Japanese yen)

(Reporting by Junko Fujita and Reiji Murai; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)