• Bloomberg


Sony Corp., the maker of Xperia smartphones and PlayStation consoles, posted a loss 18 percent larger than forecast as the company cut earnings for the third time in the past year amid slumping consumer electronics sales.

The net loss was ¥130 billion ($1.3 billion) in the 12 months ended March, Sony said in preliminary earnings reported Thursday. That compares with a February loss projection of ¥110 billion, which was itself a reduction from an October forecast of ¥30 billion profit.

The wider loss is a setback to Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai’s efforts to revive the fortunes of the technology icon with new game consoles and smartphones. Sony, which is cutting 5,000 jobs, is struggling to come up with new hits as demand for traditional products like televisions, cameras and personal computers declines.

“There’s no end to their downward revision of earnings,” said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. “They can’t get into a growth stage, and it’s difficult to recover. Unless they announce sales in the TV business, the market won’t think Sony is serious.”

Hirai issued the February forecast as the company announced the sale of its PC unit and a plan to split its TV manufacturing into a separate unit.

The company agreed to sell its PC business, which produces notebooks under the Vaio brand, to buyout firm Japan Industrial Partners Inc.

The company’s full-year operating income was ¥26 billion, about a third of the ¥80 billion projected in February.

Sony will book about ¥30 billion of extra expenses for the PC unit with sales falling below budget. The company expects to write down excess components and compensate suppliers for unused materials in its PCs.

The company will also book about ¥25 billion in impairment charges for its overseas disc manufacturing operators as demand slumps.

Sony will announce full earnings and its forecast for the current year on May 14, it said Thursday.

Hirai is trying to revive earnings across divisions, including its entertainment assets after rejecting a partial spinoff proposed by billionaire investor Daniel Loeb last year.

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