Sony Corp. announced on Thursday its first annual loss in 14 years and warned it would stay in the red this year as the recession cuts demand for televisions, cameras and other electronics.
The Japanese giant posted a net loss of 98.94 billion yen (1.0 billion dollars) for the year to March, a dramatic turnaround from the previous year's profit of 369.44 billion yen.
The maker of Bravia televisions, PlayStation game consoles and Walkman music players logged an operating loss of 227.78 billion yen, against a year-earlier profit of 475.30 billion yen, as revenue tumbled 12.9 percent.
Sony said it was impacted by the weak economy, a stronger yen and the falling value of its investments. But the net loss was smaller than its forecast for a 150-billion-yen shortfall. "The business environment has been extremely severe," Sony's chief financial officer, Nobuyuki Oneda, told reporters.
"The rapid appreciation of the yen as well as the sharp decline of Japanese stocks significantly affected our company's earnings."
For the current business year to March, Sony expects a net loss of 120 billion yen and an operating deficit of 110 billion yen. "We expect the first half of this fiscal year will continue to be difficult," said Oneda. "Some improvement should be seen from the second half."
Sony aims to slash costs to help it return to profit. In December it announced it would cut 16,000 jobs. The company said Thursday it would close three domestic factories as part of its restructuring, but did not announce any new job cuts.
Sony has had a difficult few years in the face of tough competition from rival products such as Apple's iPod and Nintendo's Wii, but had been enjoying a recovery before the current economic downturn began.