WIESBADEN, GERMANY--Japanese electronics giant Panasonic has selected Waggener Edstrom to handle public relations as it returns to the international smartphone market.

The company is set to launch a new smartphone range in Europe, its first handset launch outside Japan in several years. Panasonic is the second-ranked mobile player in Japan market behind Sharp, but withdrew from overseas cellphone markets in 2005.

The Holmes Report understands that Waggener-Edstrom prevailed following a three-way pitch at Panasonic’s European HQ in the German city of Wiesbaden.

The brief is believed to be worth as much as $500K, covering the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Turkey.

The company is hoping to target a ‘style-seeking’ thirty-something audience with the launch range of Android-powered smartphones. Panasonic began to sell smartphones in its native Japan this year, rolling out such models as the touchscreen P-07C and the Lumix 101p camera handset.

In an interview with Forbes earlier this year, Panasonic president Fumio Ohtsubo said that the company plans to offer Android handsets in several countries in 2012. Smartphones are part of an overall goal to double sales in its “components and devices” business unit.