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Sony Forecasts Profit After Reporting Hefty Annual Loss


Troubled electronics firm Sony Corp. (SNE, SON.L) on Thursday reported a $5.7 billion loss for a year that was marred by a strong yen, the deadly tsunami and the Thailand floods. Weakening demand for its LCD televisions added to the woes.

However, the Japanese company forecast a profit for the ongoing fiscal and expects its revenues to grow.

For the year ending March 31, 2013, Sony expects net income attributable to its stockholders of 30 billion yen on sales of 7.4 trillion yen.

This compares to a loss of 456.7 billion yen ($5.72 billion) in the just concluded fiscal year, which was wider than the previous year's loss of 259.6 billion yen. Sales and operating revenue also dropped nearly 10 percent in fiscal 2012 to 7.18 trillion yen.

The Japanese firm is going through a tough phase in its history. Last month, it said it was cutting 10,000 jobs in fiscal 2012 as part of a turnaround plan.

In the final quarter of fiscal 2012, Sony's net loss attributable to stockholders narrowed to 255.2 billion yen from 388.8 billion yen last year.

Operating loss improved substantially to 1.41 billion yen from 73.37 billion yen due to a remeasurement gain associated with obtaining control of Sony Mobile Communications, or SOMC. Early this year, Sony acquired Ericsson's (ERIC) 50 percent stake in their joint venture Sony Ericsson.

Sales and operating revenue rose 1.2 percent in the quarter to 1.6 trillion yen from 1.58 trillion yen last year. Sony said the marginal rise was due to sales recognized from the consolidation of SOMC and higher revenues in the Financial Services segment, partially offset by a significant decrease in sales in the consumer products segment.

The segment's sales declined over 16 percent due to lower sales of products such as LCD televisions and PCs.

In the Professional, Device & Solutions, or PDS, segment, sales were essentially flat mainly due to a decrease in component sales, partially offset by an increase in semiconductor sales.

In the Pictures segment, despite the appreciation of the yen, sales rose 5.4 percent due to higher revenues from made-for-cable programming and revenues recognized from the consolidation of GSN, which was accounted for under the equity method in the same period of the previous fiscal year.

In the Music segment, sales decreased 3.2 percent primarily due to the impact of the appreciation of the yen.

In the Financial Services segment, revenue climbed 28.8 primarily due to a significant increase in revenue at the insurance arm Sony Life resulting from an improvement in investment performance.

Looking ahead, Sony expects year-over-year sales growth in most businesses. But in Music, sales are expected to be essentially flat due to an expected ongoing contraction of the physical music market.

Consumer products segment sales are expected to increase significantly year-on-year due to a recovery from the negative impact of the earthquake and the Thai floods, mainly in digital imaging products and PCs.

Sony shares closed on Thursday in Tokyo at 1,213 yen, down 1.22 percent from the previous close, on a volume of 8.78 million shares.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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