Sony’s Q4 loss bigger than expected

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Sony’s Q4 loss bigger than expected

Sony, Japan’s biggest consumer electronics exporter, unexpectedly reported an eighth consecutive quarterly loss on waning demand for TVs and consumer preferences for Apple and Samsung Electronics devices.

The net loss narrowed to 10.8 billion yen ($115 million) in the three months ended December from 159 billion yen a year earlier, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement yesterday.

The TV maker was expected to post a 21 billion-yen profit based on the average of three analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company reiterated its forecast for annual net income of 20 billion yen, its first profitable year in five.

Japan’s biggest consumer-electronics exporter has lost market share as it struggles to develop products able to compete with Apple iPads and Samsung televisions and Galaxy smartphones. A weaker yen, which boosted earnings at Japanese rivals Panasonic and Sharp, also failed to help Sony withstand a slump in global TV sales.

“Nothing substantial has really changed in Sony’s businesses,” Keita Wakabayashi, an analyst at Mito Securities in Tokyo, said before the announcement. “TVs are no longer a cash cow, and the outlook for Japanese consumer-electronics makers remains tough.”

Panasonic posted a surprise net income of 61 billion yen in the three months ended December, while Sharp made its first operating profit in five quarters. The yen has plunged since the end of September, helped by new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s call for “bold monetary policy.”

Sony is counting on new products to help lure consumers from Apple and Samsung. At last month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it introduced new higher-definition TVs, water-resistant smartphones and a more powerful digital camera. The company also revealed plans to offer Ultra-High Definition content from Sony Pictures for downloading on its TVs.

A PlayStation event has been announced for Feb. 20, stoking speculation the company will unveil a fourth-generation console. Sony also has invested in medical-device maker Olympus and gaming platform company Gaikai.

Worldwide smartphone shipment jumped 36 percent to 219.4 million units in the fourth quarter, according to IDC. Bloomberg

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