updated 04:20 pm EST, Thu January 29, 2009
Sony, Toshiba post losses
The slowing economy is the main reason for electronics maker Sony announcing its first annual loss in 14 years, along with announcing a preliminary fourth quarter loss of nearly $199 million, according to a Thursday report. It was the third time this business year that Sony cut its annual forecast, and both it and the estimated near-$2.9 billion annual loss come after last year's respective profits of $2.6 and $5.3 billion. It's a similar story at Toshiba, where fourth quarter numbers are down about $1.8 billion compared to a $466 million profit last year, while forecast annual profits are nearly $3.1 billion in the red, the first time in seven years.
Both Japan-based companies had to battle a stronger yen that made competing in other markets more difficult, as well as weaker demand for electronics products across the board. Toshiba's losses were mainly due to record-low demand for flash memory chips, about a third lower from the previous year's quarter. The world's number two memory maker along with US partner SanDisk have cut output to better match the weaker demand. Toshiba's consumer digital products and home appliances also suffered losses. Earlier in the year, Toshiba predicted an annual profit of about $1.7 billion.
Toshiba has also announced on Thursday that it plans to buy some of SanDisk' 300mm wafer production facilities for about $885 million.