Sony Corp. on Tuesday unveiled sweeping restructuring measures, including plans to shed 20,000 jobs and close domestic TV plants, with the consumer electronics giant struggling to reclaim a competitive edge over its rivals.

The company also announced a tieup with Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea to produce large liquid crystal display panels used for flat-screen TVs.

The restructuring announcement by Sony, which reported a 25 percent drop in its second-quarter profit last week, had been anxiously awaited by investors, even though many details were reported by some media beforehand.

“It is an undeniable fact that we are seeing a profit shrinking trend,” Sony Chief Executive Nobuyuki Idei told the media in Tokyo. “As a global player, we have to achieve at least 10 percent (in operating margin).”

He referred to the company’s goal of lifting the ratio of group operating profit against sales from the current 4 percent to 10 percent by the end of fiscal 2006.

To this end, the company said it will slash 20,000 jobs, or 13 percent of Sony’s global workforce, by March 2006. Some 7,000 will be cut in Japan.

Of the total, about 11,000 will come from the administrative tier.

It will close 30 percent of 200 production, distribution, and customer service locations worldwide by March 2006.

The company will spend 335 billion yen from fiscal 2003 to 2005 to carry out the restructuring measures. As the result of these and other cost-cutting measures, the company said it will be able to cut fixed costs by 330 billion yen annually, beginning in fiscal 2006.

Meanwhile, the company said it signed a basic agreement with Samsung to set up a joint venture to manufacture large LCD panels in South Korea.

The initial investment for the project is about $2 billion, with the production line scheduled to operate at the initially targeted capacity by summer 2005.

By launching the joint venture to produce so-called seventh-generation LCD panels and the development of powerful image processors, Sony said it will be able to compete well with its rivals in the TV market.

The move, coupled with its decision to close domestic cathode-ray tube production lines by March, marks a belated attempt to cash in on a rapidly growing consumer shift from bulky CRT to flat-screen TVs.

The firm, which has dominated the conventional TV market with its Trinitron technology, introduced in 1968, has been lagging behind rivals.

Sony also said it will set up a financial holding company, consisting of Sony Life Insurance Co., Sony Assurance Inc. and Sony Bank around April, pending regulatory approval.

The holding company eventually aims to float its shares.

Sony’s Idei defended the company’s restructuring moves, saying they were not a reaction to the company’s recent poor performance.

He bristled when asked whether he would resign to take responsibility for the current situation.

“Sony is not even in the red,” he said.

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