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Toshiba counts cost of HD defeat

20 марта 2008

Toshiba, the Japanese electronics group, expects to lose Y110bn ($1.1bn) this year on its now-defunct HD-DVD business after conceding defeat to rival Sony in the battle to create a standard for high-definition discs.

On Wednesday, Toshiba lowered its net profit estimate for the year ending March 31 by 31 per cent to Y125bn to reflect the HD-DVD loss as well as plunging prices for Nand flash-memory chips, another of its core products.

Toshiba counts cost of HD defeat Toshiba announced last month that it would stop manufacturing HD-DVD discs and players at end of March, leaving the field to Sony’s Blu-ray format.

Toshiba had already expected the business to lose Y50bn due to falling prices for HD-DVD players. Prices have sunk further since it announced the format’s demise, and the company now expects an expanded operating loss of Y65bn.

Toshiba said it would also take a Y45bn charge to account for the depreciation of obsolete manufacturing equipment and the scrapping of piled-up inventory.

Sony won the two-year format war after drawing a majority of Hollywood studios to its side. Microsoft, which had backed Toshiba’s format, is now in talks with Sony about offering a Blu-ray drive for its Xbox 360 game console, according to a senior executive.

Toshiba’s new group net profit estimate is 9 per cent below last year’s result, marking a sharp reversal of its previous forecast of 31 per cent growth.

The deterioration in revenues from flash memory chips is worrying because Toshiba had signalled that it would focus on the business as one of two core areas, along with nuclear power, in the wake of the HD-DVD pull-out.

Toshiba is aiming to become the world’s leading producer of Nand flash memory, which is used in digital music players and cameras. The company currently ranks second in the field behind Samsung.

Nand prices have fallen more than 20 per cent this year after tumbling by half in the last quarter of 2007. As a result, Toshiba said it expects its semiconductor business to generate an operating profit of Y85bn, down from a previous forecast of Y150.

Last year the business earned Y128bn.

Источник: Financial Times

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