Business / Corporate

Sony chief denies spinoffs mean immediate withdrawal

Kyodo

Sony Corp. President Kazuo Hirai said on Wednesday the company would not immediately sell off businesses such as its TV and mobile phone units that it is spinning off.

Last week , Hirai did not rule out the potential sale of those struggling units as part of restructuring at the Tokyo-based electronics and entertainment group, when he announced a new multiyear business plan including separating its audio and video segment into a wholly owned subsidiary later this year.

“It’s not that we proceed toward immediate sale or withdrawal,” Hirai told reporters Wednesday. Splitting off businesses is “a way to promote independence at each unit, make clear where responsibility lies, and turn Sony into a highly profitable company as a whole,” he said.

In judging whether to withdraw from businesses, Hirai said Sony would focus on issues such as how much the unit contributes to the group’s earnings and whether it has a technological edge over other firms, as well as market conditions.

Sony has already sold off its personal computer business under the restructuring.

Sony plans to skip dividend payouts for the business year through next month, the first such move since it went public in 1958, because of sluggish earnings, largely affected by the loss-making smartphone business.

“I feel very sorry about the result, but we will resume dividends after going through reforms,” Hirai said.

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