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Sony reports losses in games unit

26 октября 2007

Sony has lifted its full-year operating profit slightly but reported widening losses in its key games and television divisions after admitting its liquid crystal display television model was inadequate and PlayStation 3 sales targets might not be met.

Sony reports losses in games unitThe world’s second largest consumer electronics maker is still on track to meet its 5 per cent operating margin target for the year as promised by Sir Howard Stringer, chief executive.

However, analysts are concerned that the prolonged losses in its games unit – which has been in the red for seven straight quarters – are hindering the overall performance of the group. In stark contrast, Nintendo’s operating margin for the year is expected to be 27 per cent with its Wii console outselling Sony’s machine in the US and Japan.

Underlining the lacklustre appeal of its PS3 games console, Sony said the operating loss of its games unit had more than doubled to Y96.7bn ($848m) in the July-September quarter compared with the same period last year. Nobuyuki Oneda, chief financial officer, said the unit would break even in the second half of this year and would turn a profit in the fiscal year starting April 2008.

In a bid to ignite sales in the holiday shopping season, Sony this month launched a lower-priced 40-gigabyte PS3 model and cut its prices on older models.

“Games losses were significantly worse than we expected and we suspect this relates to current price cuts in October/November being provisioned in the quarter,” said David Gibson, analyst at Macquarie Securities in Tokyo, in a note. “Management is targeting to be break even in games in the second half but given the first half loss of Y126bn, investors may take a wait and see attitude.”

Yasuo Nakane, analyst at Deutsche Bank, expected Sony to sell 8.5m PS3s this year, with “very little possibility” that it would meet its 11m target.

Sony raised its annual operating profit forecast to Y450bn from Y440bn. In the July-September quarter, operating profit totalled Y90.5bn, which included a gain from the sale of part of its former headquarters of Y60.7bn. A year ago, Sony reported an operating loss of Y20.8bn when the company was hit by a one-off charge of Y51.2bn for costs related to its enormous battery recall.

In its core electronics division, Sony reported a sales increase of 21 per cent to Y1,663.1bn. Operating profit was Y106.9bn, up from Y8bn the previous year when the unit absorbed the recall charge.

Sony’s main television division racked up an operating loss of Y21bn, widened by Y11bn from last year.

Источник: Financial Times

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