Japan's Asahi newspaper is reporting that Pioneer is going to stop making 42-inch plasma panels.

Instead the company has apparently opted to buy panels in that size and smaller from Panasonic maker Matsushita Electric Industrial or Hitachi.

This move is being reported by Reuters as a bid to drive Pioneer's loss-making flat TV business back to profit.

Pioneer set the target of selling 480,000 plasma TVs in this business year, ending on 31 March, and which is less than one-tenth of Matsushita's sales target of five million units.

Japanese consumer and auto electronics maker Pioneer will end output of such panels at a plant in Kagoshima prefecture in southern Japan as early as by March next year, Asahi said in the report on Saturday.

It originally bought the Kagoshima plant from NEC Corp and now wants NEC to buy it back, the Asahi added.

Pioneer is not, however, leaving the market but is going to focus on making panels 50 inches or larger at other plants.

This follows Pioneer's decision last year to start buying liquid crystal display panels from Sharp to start offering LCD TVs.

More information about Pioneer's flatscreen strategy is expected when the company unveils its mid-term business plan next month, adds Reuters.

Pocket-lint got in touch with Pioneer UK to get the official word on this story and has received the following statement:

"On Feb. 23, 2008, the Asahi newspaper carried an article regarding Pioneer's plasma display business."

"This article was not based on a Pioneer announcement or interviews from the Asahi, but just on the basis of the journalist's speculation."

"At the 3rd quarter financial announcement of FY2008 on Jan. 31, 2008, President Sudo announced that Pioneer is reviewing our display business and preparing the mid-term business plan aiming to generate a stable revenue from the business."

"The review is now underway and no details have been decided as yet. We will announce the details as soon as they have been confirmed."