updated 07:40 am EST, Thu January 22, 2009
Sony Warns of Loss
Sony today warned (reg. required) that it will post its first loss for the past 14 years. The company confirmed rumors with expectations that its fiscal year, which finishes at the end of March, will see it lose the equivalent of a net $1.65 billion due both to a major drop in spending thanks to the poor world economy as well as an excessively strong Japanese yen that hurts the profit of sales outside of Japan. The move contrasts sharply with predictions made as recently as October of a similar amount in profit.
Most of Sony's factories are located in its home country and thus hurt the technology giant whenever the Japanese yen is strong, as prices are typically lower outside of Japan and don't necessarily make up for increases in labor costs at home.
The company's core electronic business is particularly hurt as its operating income should be about $3.82 billion lower than expected; the company is already forecasting that sales across all of Sony will be about 14 percent lower.
The shortfall is expected to force Sony to take more drastic action than plans announced in December, which themselves involved cutting 16,000 jobs and closing factories making largely obsolete technology. One of the company's Japanese TV manufacturing plants should be closed while restructuring costs should triple to about $673.82 million as the company slims down.
Sony's only previous net loss in its history was in 1995, when the cost of buying out movie studio Columbia Pictures pushed it below what would otherwise have been a profitable year.