Sony said on Thursday
that it lost ¥98.9bn in the fiscal year
through March and projected it would lose even more money this year
amid a slump in consumer demand for electronics goods.
The loss is the company's first annual net loss in 14 years. The manufacturer of Bravia flat-panel TVs, Cyber-shot digital
cameras and Vaio computers also said it will close three plants in
Japan this year to help turn its business around. That brings the total
number of factories it is closing globally to eight through March 2010
and leaves 49 Sony factories worldwide.
Sony is also in the process of cutting 16,000 workers from its payrolls.
Sony lost ¥165bn (£1.1bn) in the January-March quarter, compared to a ¥29bn profit for the same period the previous year.
The company is just the latest in a line of large Japanese corporations
posting huge losses and bleak outlooks, including automaker Toyota and
electronics manufacturer Hitachi.
Sony chief executive Howard Stringer has yet to offer details of a turnaround
plan. The company's competition in the global downturn has only grown
thanks to successes by South Korea's Samsung and Taiwan's Acer, which
produce cheaper products.
The fiscal year loss was better than Sony's forecast for a ¥150bn shortfall, thanks to TV prices holding better than
expected. A one-time gain from a change in Japanese tax laws also
helped, the company said.
A bleak outlook remains, however, and Sony projects a ¥120bn loss for the fiscal year through March
Sony continues to lose money in its game segment, where its
PlayStation 3 games console and PSP device have struggled against rival
offerings from Nintendo and Microsoft.
Sales for the fiscal year fell in all key markets: Sony was down 20
percent in the US, 17 percent in Europe and 14 percent in Japan.
The three plants the company plans to close are for mobile phone
cameras, video recorder parts and systems used for smart cards,
As for layoffs, Sony said it was on track with its previously
announced plan to reduce 8,000 of its 185,000 jobs around the world,
and trim another 8,000 temporary workers who aren't included in the
global work force tally.