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Japanese CE Makers Report Net Losses

NEW YORK – Panasonic, Sony, Sharp and Toshiba all reported net losses in their recent financial reports.

The common reasons among the four companies included the weak Japanese and European markets, exchange rates for the yen and lower demand for TVs.

Panasonic posted reported lower sales and a deeper net loss for the second quarter of its fiscal year, ended Sept. 30.

Consolidated group sales for the second quarter decreased by 12 percent to 1,823.7 billion yen compared with 2,075.7 billion yen for the prior year’s second quarter. Net loss attributable to Panasonic amounted to 698 billion yen compared with a loss of 105.8 billion yen a year ago as a result of the increase in valuation allowances to deferred tax assets.

Panasonic said that among the drags on its business has been “the electronics industry continued to be difficult with downturn in digital products, especially flat-panel TVs, and sales decline in electronic components.”

The company noted, “Under such business circumstances, Panasonic has been working towards filtering unprofitable models and enhancing B to B businesses with one of its basic guidelines, “ ‘Focus on Profitability.’ ”

At Sanyo, sales decreased by 29 percent to 698.3 billion yen from 985.3 billion yen a year ago. Segment profit decreased by 36 percent to 9.4 billion yen from 14.7 billion yen a year ago due mainly to sales decrease of the Manufacturing Solutions Company.

Sony reported a narrower second-quarter net loss of $194 million (15.5 billion yen), as the Japanese consumer electronics firm continues to feel the weight of a depressed TV market.

Sony said its operating income reached $379 million (30.3 billion yen) for the quarter, compared with an operating loss of 1.6 billion yen last year.

Weakened by a slump in global television purchases against the rising value of the yen, Sony is in the midst of a major restructuring under chief executive Kazuo Hirai. It reduced television operations by selling off interests in production plants and has focused more resources on its smartphone, imaging, video game and medical businesses.

Sony said operating results improved in the devices and home entertainment and sound (HE&S) segments as a result, in part, of cost reductions in the LCD TV business.

Sony said sales and operating revenue rose 1.9 percent to $19.9 billion (1.6 trillion yen), from 1.57 trillion yen in the previous year.

The imaging products and solutions (IP&S) segment saw operating income decline 84 percent to 2.6 billion yen, while sales dropped 16.7 percent to 182.6 billion yen, as point-and-shoot camera sales continued to be impacted by smartphone sales.

Game sales decreased 15.8 percent from a year ago to 148.2 billion yen due to lower sales of hardware and software of the PlayStation3 and PlayStation Portable (PSP). Operating income for the unit decreased 24 percent.

The mobile products and communications (MP&C) segment saw sales surged 112 percent to 300.4 billion yen, following the consolidation of Sony Mobile, which along with slower PC sales led to a wider operating.

In HE&S, sales fell 25 percent, but operating loss narrowed, amid a decrease in LCD television unit sales.

The operating loss in the home entertainment unit, including TV operations, shrank to 15.8 billion yen in the quarter from 41.8 billion yen a year earlier, Sony said in the statement.

Television sales decreased 31.5 percent from a year ago to 146.7 billion yen.

Sharp Electronics reported lower sales and a deeper net loss for its fiscal first half, ended Sept. 30. Consolidated financial results for the six months recorded net sales of 1,104.1 billion yen, a drop of 16 percent compared with the same period last year.

Net loss was 387.5 billion yen, compared with a net loss of 39.8 billion yen from last year. The operating loss was 168.8 billion yen, compared with a 33.6 billion yen profit in the prior year.

In its consumer/information products group, sales of audio video and communications products were 338.2 billion yen, down 41.8 percent, falling significantly short of the same period last year, Sharp said.

Toshiba said consolidated net sales were 1,417 billion yen ($18,167.3 million), a decrease of 169.4 billion yen. Digital products and the electronic devices segments saw decreases that reflected the impacts of continued yen appreciation and market deterioration, Toshiba reported.

Net loss in the quarter was 37.3 billion yen ($478.2 million), an increase of 17.5 billion yen. Operating income was 57.5 billion yen ($737.2 million), a decrease of 17.4 billion yen.

Digital products net sales was 346.7 billion yen, down 23 percent, and operating income was 4.5 billion yen, from no income in the prior year’s fiscal second quarter. — Additional reporting by Greg Tarr