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Losses Continue For Most Japanese CE Makers

NEW YORK – Losses continued for many top Japanese CE manufacturers, with the exception of Sony, as they reported their individual annual results for the fiscal year that ended March 31.

Television continued to be a drain on corporate bottom lines of several manufacturers, although new strategies and revamped operations have helped get some closer to profitability.

And patience is wearing thin on the part of executive boards and investors as these losses continue. A new president was named at Sharp, and at Sony, hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb revealed taking a major stake in the company and called on its board to spin off its entertainment business to boost its CE operations, which was rejected by Sony.

Here are the annual results of key companies:

Sony recorded a net profit of $458 million or 43 billion yen, compared with a net loss the prior year of 456.7 billion yen, based on reduced TV losses and sales of facilities here and in Tokyo. Sales and operating revenue were up 4.7 percent in yen, or $72.3 billion.

In Sony’s home entertainment and sound segment, sales decreased 22.5 percent year on year to $10.6 billion, Sony reported. Its operating loss decreased 118.9 billion yen year on year to 84.3 billion yen, or $897 million.

In televisions, sales decreased 30.8 percent year on year to 581.5 billion yen, or $6.2 billion, and operating loss decreased 137.9 billion yen year on year to 69.6 billion yen, or $740 million.

In other categories, the mobile products and communications segment’s sales were up, but the unit reported a loss. Imaging had 4.1 percent lower sales and a 92.3 percent drop in operating income, and in games, sales were off 12.2 percent with operating income down 94.1 percent in yen to $18 million.

Sharp reported a wider net loss of 545.3 billion yen for the year, compared with a net loss of 376 billion yen in the prior year. Net sales were up 0.9 percent to 2,478.5 billion yen for the year.

As a result, Kozo Takahashi, executive VP and chief officer of the products business group, will replace current president Takashi Okuda, who will become chairman. The changes will occur after Sharp’s shareholders meeting June 25.

In its consumer/information products group, sales of A/V and communications equipment for the year were 732 billion yen, down 31 percent. Sales of LCD TVs “fell drastically below last year,” the company said.

Panasonic reported a loss of 754.3 billion yen ($7.42 billion) for its fiscal 2013, compared with last year’s 772.2 billion yen loss. Panasonic said sales for fiscal 2013 declined 7 percent from the previous year, to 7.3 trillion yen ($71.9 billion). Panasonic said its major restructuring effort to improve the bottom line has not yet met expectations.

Panasonic said poor sales of TVs and display panels caused a 20 percent decline in revenue for the business unit in the period.

Panasonic president Kazuhiro Tsuga has promised to cut unprofitable businesses in an effort to get the company back in black.

The company’s operating profit, including restructuring costs, showed a 160.9 billion yen ($1.6 billion) gain, up 268 percent from a year ago.

Pioneer Electronics reported that consolidated net sales grew 3.5 percent year on year, to 451,841 million yen, but reported a net loss of 19,552 million yen compared with the previous fiscal year’s 3,670 million yen net income.

Sales increased due to OEM sales of car navigation systems and consumer-market sales of car audio products.

By category, car electronics sales grew 15.4 percent year on year, but the segment’s operating income declined 4.9 percent.

Home electronics sales declined 22 percent year on year, with sales of optical-disc-driverelated products declining substantially. The segment recorded an operating loss of 2,798 million, compared with the prior year’s operating income of 3,560 million yen.

Pioneer will further streamline its optical disc business with a target of July for reducing the size of the business structure, including headcount, by roughly 40 percent, compared with fiscal 2013.

Toshiba’s digital products segment reported its sales dropped 228.3 billion yen to 1,432.7 billion yen ($15.2 billion), a 14 percent decrease. The operating loss improved by 2.8 billion yen to 24.4 billion yen ($259.4 million), compared with the prior year.

The visual products business, which includes LCD TVs, saw sales slide. Sales were also sluggish in the U.S.

The PC business also recorded a decrease on lower unit sales, due to eroding demand in the U.S., Toshiba said. PCs saw lower operating income on lower sales, “even though it secured positive operating income” due to cost reductions, the company said.

Corporately Toshiba’s net sales were $61.7 billion, up 300 billion yen, and its net income was $824.8 million, up 7.4 billion yen from the prior year.