By Lena Lee
Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) — Sony Corp. plans to eliminate 8,000 jobs in the largest reduction announced by a Japanese company since the credit crunch drove the world into a recession.
Sony will curb investments, outsource production and move away from unprofitable businesses as part of plans to save more than 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) by the year ending March 2010, the Tokyo-based company said today. The job cuts represent about 5 percent of the electronics division’s workforce, it said.
The reductions underscore the severity of the slump in consumer spending at a time when companies typically prepare for the peak Christmas shopping season. Sony, the world’s second- largest maker of consumer electronics, and larger rival Panasonic Corp. slashed their profit forecasts for this year because of the global recession.
“As the tougher business environment is ahead of us, the company might suffer from a bigger earnings decline in the second half, or even losses, if it doesn’t take any measures,” said Hiroshi Sato, chief investment officer of Tokyo-based GCSAM Co., who sold his Sony holdings. “I can’t see how the company will regain its charm with consumers.”
The company said it will announce the financial impact of the measures in January, when reporting fiscal third-quarter results.
Sony on Oct. 23 said net income will probably drop 59 percent in the year ending March 31, slashing the outlook by 38 percent as the stronger yen and slumping demand undermine sales of its electronics including Bravia televisions. Panasonic reduced its net income outlook for the fiscal year by 90 percent.
Electronics Investment Cut
Sony will invest 30 percent less in its electronics business than planned under its mid-term strategy, it said, without giving figures.
The Brava-brand TV maker said it will “adjust” pricing to cope with the stronger yen, two weeks after saying it didn’t have plans for “massive cuts” in prices in the U.S.
The yen has surged 21 percent against the dollar and 39 percent versus the euro this year, damping the value of Sony’s earnings from overseas.
Sony rose 3.9 percent to close at 1,896 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange before the announcement. The stock has slumped 69 percent in 2008, after climbing in each of the past four years.
The company plans to reduce more jobs by losing temporary workers in electronics, responsible for about two-thirds of sales. It will also cut the number of manufacturing sites by 10 percent by the end of next fiscal year, from 57 currently.
Sony will postpone investment plans at its Nitra plant in Slovakia that assembles liquid-crystal display televisions for the European market. The electronics maker plans to end production at two overseas manufacturing sites, including one in France that produces tape and other recording media.
“These initiatives are in response to the sudden and rapid changes in the global economic environment,” Sony said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lena Lee in Tokyo at email@example.com
Last Updated: December 9, 2008 02:47 EST