Sony divests chemical products biz for $730M

Consumer electronics giant reaches agreement to sell chemical products units to Development Bank of Japan as it executes CEO Kazuo Hirai's plan to cut costs and streamline the company.

Sony has confirmed the sale of its chemical product subsidiary, Sony Chemical and Information Device Corporation (SCID), to the Development Bank of Japan at an estimated 58 billion yen (US$730 million).

On Friday, Sony said it has reached definitive agreements with the Development Bank of Japan to sell its domestic and overseas operations of Sony Group's chemical business. With that, the bank will acquire shares of SCID and another subsidiary in Sony Group related to chemical products as well as licenses for certain Sony patents related to the chemical business, the company said.

Sony will transfer its chemical products-related business to SCID and receive non-chemical-related business from the subsidiary before the sale is completed, it added.

The SCID manufactures and sells chemical products such as anisotropic conducive film and optical materials, as well as other non-chemical products such as optical disk media, medical print media, and FeliCa--which is used in contactless ticketing systems such as Singapore's EZ-Link.

The move is part of Sony's realignment of its business portfolio. Before taking over the reins at Sony as CEO in April, Kazuo Hirai said it will take "painful" steps to trim costs in order to revive the company. The Japanese electronics giant revealed operating losses of 67.3 billion yen (US$820 million) compared to an operating income of 199.8 billion yen (US$2.5 billion) in the previous fiscal year in its full 2011 financial report.

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