Fri, May 27, 2011 - Page 10 News List

POST-QUAKE JAPAN: Sony forecasts return to profit this year

AFP, TOKYO

Japanese electronics and entertainment giant Sony yesterday reported its third annual loss in a row after the March 11 quake, but forecast a return to the black this year despite a huge online attack.

Sony confirmed that it suffered a net loss of ¥259.6 billion (US$3.2 billion) in the year to March, but forecast a net profit of ¥80 billion for the fiscal year that ends next March.

In the quarter to March alone, the maker of PlayStation consoles and Bravia televisions incurred a ¥388.8 billion net loss mainly because of the impact of the earthquake and tsunami. The company also cited a ¥362 billion non-cash charge set aside for deferred tax assets.

Sony said operating profit grew to ¥199.8 billion for the year to March from ¥31.8 billion and that it expects a similar operating profit this year.

“Sales are expected to increase year-on-year, despite the negative impact of the earthquake, primarily due to higher sales in LCD televisions ... and higher sales in semiconductors,” it said.

On Monday, the electronics giant said the impact of the March 11 quake on sales was estimated at ¥22 billion, while it expected to record ¥12 billion in charges related to idled plants and insurance policy previsions.

Sony shut down its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services on April 20 as it was hit by a huge cyberattack and said it could not rule out that millions of credit card numbers may have been compromised.

Earlier this week, hackers attacked Sony Ericsson’s Canadian eShop Web site, affecting 2,000 users while Sony sites have also been hit in Thailand, Indonesia and Greece.

Yesterday, it reiterated an estimate that the initial data breach would result in at least a US$170 million hit in “currently known costs” to operating profit this financial year in terms of insurance and damages.

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