Sony posts fourth full-year loss highlighting Japan electronics malaise | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 10.05.2012
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Sony posts fourth full-year loss highlighting Japan electronics malaise

Struggling to stem losses at its TV division, Japan's electronics giant Sony has seen another year in the red. Job cuts and portfolio diversification are planned to boost the firm's fortunes in embattled markets.

Sony posted a massive 456.7 billion yen (4.42 billion euros) loss in its business year ended in March 2012, but has vowed to regain ground lost to rivals with the help of a restructuring program.

Sales fell 9.6 percent to 6.49 trillion yen compared with the previous fiscal year, the Japanese electronics giant announced Thursday.

"Sales decreased primarily due to unfavorable foreign exchange rates, the impact of the massive East Japan earthquake and tsunami, floods in Thailand, and deterioration in market conditions in developed countries," Sony said in a statement.

However, the company said it was "on course" to post a net profit of 30 billion yen in the current business year ending in March 2013 on the back of a forecast rise in sales to 7.4 trillion yen.

In addition, a restructuring plan described by Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai as "urgent" was expected to support profits.

Under a one-billion-euro overhaul, Sony aims to cut 10,000 jobs, expand its PlayStation and online games businesses, and create new business from medical equipment and life sciences.

Tech industry shakeout

The latest loss was 197.1 billion yen higher than the one the previous fiscal year, highlighting the tribulations of Japan's consumer electronics firms in view of tough competition and falling prices, notably in the television market.

On Tuesday, Toshiba said its net profit in the fiscal year to March was down 46.5 percent, making it another entry on the list of prominent Japanese corporations - including Sharp and Panasonic - which have announced management shakeups, layoffs and tie-ups with rivals to save their bottom lines.

The red ink bleeding across Japan's tech industry comes at a time when the TV market is heading for a technology choice between organic light emitting display (OLED) TV sets which may consign today's LCDs to the bargain shelf.

Sony was the first to market OLED technology in 2007, but halted production of the $2,000 home screens three years later.

However, last month South Korea's LG Electronics announced it would introduce an OLED TV in several European countries in May - a move that is likely to cement South Korean dominance in the television market over long-time leaders Japan.

uhe/gb (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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