Sony plans no announcement on TV restructuring

Sony plans no announcement on TV restructuring

Tokyo: Sony Corp said on Tuesday it was not planning any major announcement about restructuring its television business, after expectations had grown that it would unveil drastic changes to turn the unit around as it heads for its eighth straight year of losses.

In an interview with Reuters, chief financial officer Masaru Kato also said the company was becoming cautious about sales in the crucial year-end shopping season in November and December.

“Looking at Europe and North America overall, the outlook is murky," Kato said. “We don’t see any reasons for optimism."

Sony, whose sprawling business offers everything from PlayStation game consoles to life insurance, had said in August it would pull together plans that month to restructure its TV business, which is struggling to compete with Asian rivals such as Samsung Electronics.

Samsung said last week it expected to beat consensus forecasts for the July-September quarter.

But Sony’s second-in-command, Kazuo Hirai, has already ruled out withdrawing from the business, which it sees as core to its strategy of combining hardware and content, or dropping an LCD panel joint venture with Samsung. He said the company would consider new partnerships.

“I am sorry if we have given the mistaken impression that there is going to be some big announcement," Kato said of the TV unit restructuring. “We are not thinking of doing that."

He added that the company was constantly working on improving profitability in televisions and would answer questions on the process from time to time.

The electronics giant’s profits are being battered by the dramatic slide of the euro against the yen, which on Tuesday hovered around ¥104, compared with the company’s forecast of ¥115.

But Kato said 75% of the company’s production is scheduled to take place overseas this financial year and that it would be difficult to raise that figure further.

Sony has no tricks up its sleeve to protect itself from the yen’s rise against the euro, Kato added.

Shares of Sony were up 5.5% at ¥1,493 on Tuesday afternoon, compared with a 2.1% rise in the Nikkei average.