May 10 - Sony posts record loss, but banks on growth in smartphones, games and cameras to lead $2.3 billion rebound in operating profit this year.
The Japanese electronics giant posted a record $5.7 billion net loss, but expects a firm rebound this year. Sony is forecasting operating profits of $2.3 billion, as it slashes costs and makes strategic changes to its business units. CEO Kazuo Hirai wants to salvage Sony's loss-making TV business via partnerships and alliances. He's also cutting 10,000 jobs, and taking a $940 million restructuring charge this year. Sony predicts TV losses will halve to about $1 billion, having bled about $10 billion in the past eight years. CFO Masaru Kato says margins will be the new focus of its TV business. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER MASARU KATO SAYING: "We have changed our policy. We are not chasing the number of televisions we sell, to increase profitability." Sony expects the company's gaming, smartphone and movie units to spur growth. Sony sees smartphone sales rising nearly 50 percent this year. Sales of its handheld game consoles, the VITA and PSP, are projected to more than double to 16 million units. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) SONY CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER MASARU KATO SAYING: "We want to fully integrate Sony's technology and network services into the hardware. We also have movies and music and intend to utilize all these into Sony's smartphone business and get on a growth trajectory." Sony shares slipped quietly to a 25-year low this week, a clear sign of how far it has fallen behind rivals Apple and Samsung Electronics. Sony shares are down about 12 percent so far this year. In contrast, Samsung shares are up 26 percent in 2012, while the stock of Apple is up a whopping 40 percent. Arnold Gay, Reuters.