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Report: Sony May Post $1.1B Fiscal Yr. Loss

Tokyo — Sony may report its first operating loss in 14 years due to slowing sales of consumer electronics, according to anonymous sources in a story published by the Nikkei business newspaper, here.

The Nikkei story, which was picked up by various media sources, said it would report an operating loss of $1.1 billion (around 100 billion yen) when its current fiscal year ends on March 31. Predictably, Sony’s stock slipped almost 9 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

In December Sony did announce it would cut a total of 16,000 jobs, lower spending and close plants, which would save the same amount of money mentioned in The Nikkei story — $1.1 billion.

Sony, which will issue its fiscal third-quarter results on Jan. 29, had no comment on the story, only saying on its Web site, “Sony understands that a story appeared in the media regarding Sony’s expectations on operating results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009. Sony has made no announcement in this regard and at this time has no further comment.”

In October Sony reported its fiscal second-quarter net income, ended Sept. 30, was off 72 percent, due to the sagging world economy and the strong value of the yen. At that time, it warned its fiscal year earnings forecast would be off.

And in its fiscal second quarter, Sony’s electronics sales, which are seen as the culprit now, were down 0.6 percent to $15.9 billion, and operating income slumped 40.5 percent to $727 million.