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Sony says it will cut 10,000 jobs amid restructuring

Agence France-Presse
Sony on Thursday, April 11, said it would cut about 10,000 jobs in the fiscal year ending in March 2013 as the struggling electronics and entertainment giant moves to stem massive losses

SAVING AN ICON. Sony's new chief Kazuo Hirai speaks during a press briefing to announce his plans to turn around the iconic firm at the company's headquarters in Tokyo on April 12, 2012. Sony said it would cut about 10,000 jobs in the fiscal year ended March as the struggling electronics and entertainment giant moves to stem massive losses. AFP PHOTO

TOKYO, Japan [UPDATED] – Sony said it would cut about 10,000 jobs and spend nearly $1 billion on restructuring costs this fiscal year as the struggling electronics and entertainment giant moves to stem massive losses.

“As Sony Group as a whole, we expect roughly 10,000 job cuts,” it said in a statement Thursday, April 11, as the company’s new chief Kazuo Hirai held a news briefing to announce his plans to turn around the iconic firm.

Sony said it would also spend more than 75 billion yen ($925.7 billion) this year on restructuring costs.

Hirai, who replaced Welsh-born US chief executive Howard Stringer, said he would target deep losses at Sony’s struggling television unit, which the firm said it was aiming to return to profitability by 2014, while posting total sales of 8.5 trillion yen ($105.0 billion) by 2015.

Sony, which has suffered its 4th consecutive year in the red, said it would usher in changes across its divisions, boost its games business and expand further into emerging markets.

“Now is the time for Sony to change,” Hirai told reporters from Sony’s Tokyo headquarters.

“What is urgent is that we strengthen our core businesses while rebuilding our TV business,” he added.

Hirai’s comments came as the maker of PlayStation consoles and Bravia televisions warned earlier this week it would post a record full-year loss of 520 billion yen ($6.4 billion), more than 5 times its 90 billion yen loss prediction in November.

Japan’s electronics giants have suffered in recent years, particularly in their television business as rampant competition from foreign rivals such as South Korea’s Samsung has sent prices tumbling, together with the effects of a strengthening yen and a stuttering global economy.

The latest jobs cuts, about 6% of Sony’s total workforce, come after an earlier restructuring announced in December 2008 amid the global financial crisis that saw the company slash about 16,000 jobs worldwide.

Industry analysts have said Sony must usher in major reforms to counter fierce overseas competition and continuing losses at its mainstay television business. It still generates substantial profits from electronics parts.

Sony has blamed tough competition, falling prices, slow demand, the impact of severe flooding in Thailand last year, and the high yen among the reasons for its weak balance sheet.

Credit rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s both downgraded Sony earlier this year. – Agence France-Presse