Sony cuts 2015 loss forecast to $1.4B

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TOKYO: Sony on Wednesday cut its full-year loss forecast by more than a quarter to $1.4 billion, thanks to a weak yen and improving smartphone sales but it warned of further job cuts as part of its sweeping corporate overhaul.

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The firm said it now expects to lose 170 billion yen in the fiscal year to March, down from an earlier estimate of 230 billion yen, as it also cited lower restructuring costs.

Sony has struggled in the consumer electronics business that built its global brand, including losing billions of dollars in televisions over the past decade as fierce competition from lower-cost rivals pummelled the TV subsidiary’s finances.

The company is going through a huge restructuring, including job cuts, unloading its laptop business and selling its Manhattan headquarters, is it tries to drag itself out of the red.

The company also said Wednesday it would shed another 1,100 jobs in its mobile phone business—on top of a previously announced 1,000 redundancies, which will mean the division had lost about one-third of its workforce.

However, the plunging yen has partly offset the bleeding at Sony as it inflates the value of Japanese exporters’ repatriated overseas income.

On Wednesday, it said the improving results were primarily “due to the favorable impact of foreign exchange rates, a significant increase in mobile communication segment sales reflecting an increase in unit sales of smartphones” among others.

Sony’s upbeat third-quarter results saw net profit more than triple from a year earlier to an estimated 89 billion yen.

Operating profit doubled to 178.3 billion yen as sales grew 6.1 percent to 2.55 trillion yen, Sony estimated.

Sony only published estimates Wednesday, after earlier saying it would delay releasing finalized numbers until at least next month after a cyber attack at its Hollywood film unit—linked to North Korean satire “The Interview”—compromised “a large amount of data.”

Restructuring costs
But the firm also said the hack was unlikely to have a significant impact on its financial results.

On Wednesday, it said investigating the attack and fixing the problems at Sony Pictures cost about $15 million in the third quarter.

The cyber attack damaged network systems at the movie unit and meant it could not put together its financial statements on time, the firm said earlier.

“The Interview” was scheduled for a Christmas Day release before Sony became the target of the biggest cyber attack in US corporate history.

Threats made by hackers prompted Sony to initially cancel its theatrical release. It was eventually screened in select art house cinemas, and released on the Internet and via cable TV providers.

Washington has blamed North Korea for the hack—a claim Pyongyang has denied while still strongly condemning the film, which features a fictional plot to assassinate leader Kim Jon-un.

On Wednesday, Sony also said third-quarter revenue from image sensors and its PlayStation games business picked up, but sales were down in the movie and television production business.

Restructuring costs in the quarter were down by a third from a year ago, it said.

For the nine months to December, Sony estimated it had a net loss of 20.1 billion yen, reversing 9.9 billion yen profit a year earlier.

Sony shares closed 2.65 percent higher at 2,769.0 yen in Tokyo before the results were released.

AFP

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