CEO: Not thinking of selling or shutting TV business
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[May 22, 2014]
By Reiji Murai and Sophie
TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp
could take on an equity partner in its TV unit, which
has racked up losses every year for a decade, but the
Japanese consumer giant was not thinking about selling
or exiting the business, its chief executive said on
Sony plans to turn its struggling TV business into a separate entity
- Sony Visual Products Inc - within a few months to boost
The splitting off of its TV unit had fired up speculation about a
sale, which CEO Kazuo Hirai sought to dispel.
"We are not thinking about selling our TV operations or shutting
them down or anything like that," he said.
"We're doing business in the competitive environment of a market. I
wouldn't rule out the possibility of an equity tie-up, but right now
we are not doing business under the assumption that would happen."
Hirai, speaking on Thursday at a briefing outlining Sony's annual
strategy, acknowledged TV sales could fall below the company's
forecast for an industry-beating 20 percent rise this fiscal year.
He said, however, that Sony had restructured the business so it
could withstand external shocks.
"We're aware of criticism that the TV target of 16 million units
this fiscal year is too high," he said.
"Even if those risks on volume are borne out, we've put in place the
capacity to minimise the impact on profitability in the TV
Sony, roundly criticised for its habit of making overly optimistic
forecasts that it repeatedly fails to meet, has pledged that a blast
of restructuring in its electronics division this year will return
the troubled unit to profit.
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The company said it would be possible to expand operating profit
threefold in the 2015/16 business year to 400 billion yen, with its
aggressive restructuring expected to yield annual cost savings of
100 billion yen.
Hirai's newly appointed Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida
said the company did not plan to change the focus of its electronics
division away from the three core businesses of mobile, imaging and
games through the next fiscal year at least.
Hirai also reiterated that there were also risks in the volatile
smartphone market and that Sony would monitor conditions carefully.
(Reporting by Reiji Murai and Sophie Knight; Editing by Edmund
Klamann and Miral Fahmy)
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