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Sony to close factories and cut 8,000 jobs

09 декабря 2008

Sony will close five or six factories and cut 8,000 jobs worldwide in an effort to remain profitable through a slump in consumer spending on electronics.

In an announcement after market close on Tuesday, Sony said it would withdraw from unprofitable businesses and reduce investment in its electronics business by 30 per cent compared with previous plans. The measures are intended to cut Y100bn ($1.1bn) of costs in the fiscal year to March 2010.

Sony declined to say how much the restructuring would cost, prompting fears that the company will make a net loss in the current financial year. Sony cut its net profit forecast by 38 per cent to Y150bn at the end of October, since when conditions for electronics companies have deteriorated further.

With Sony’s share price down by 69 per cent this year, there has been intense pressure on Sir Howard Stringer, Sony’s chairman and chief executive, to respond.

Analysts said that the plans lacked detail and might not be enough to cope with the scale of the slowdown. Katushiko Mori, a fund manager at Daiwa SB Investments in Tokyo, told Reuters: “The number sounds big, but this staff reduction won’t be enough. Sony doesn’t have any core businesses that generate stable profits.”

Several analysts said that another big downgrade to Sony’s earnings forecasts for the current financial year was only a matter of time.

The 8,000 jobs to be cut amount to about 5 per cent of the 160,000 employees in Sony’s electronics division and will mean the closure of one in 10 of its 57 manufacturing sites.

The company said it would cease production at two overseas manufacturing sites, with around 300 job losses at the Sony Dax Technology Centre in France, which makes tape and other recording media. But Sony declined to name the other three or four sites that would be hit.

Sony has been hit particularly hard by the weakness of the euro against the yen and the dollar, as it has relatively little manufacturing in Europe, while its Korean competitors have gained from the weakness of the won.

The 30 per cent cut to capital expenditure plans prompted speculation about which programmes would be delayed. Sony said it would delay the expansion of television production at is Nitra plant in Slovakia and would outsource some of its planned increase in light sensors for mobile phone cameras.

Sony announced plans earlier this year to invest around $1bn in Sharp’s new liquid crystal panel plant and has also bet heavily on new display technologies such as organic light-emitting diodes.

Источник: Financial Times

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