Sony announces plans to address reform of PC and TV Businesses

Sony Corporation has announced significant new measures to address reform of its PC and TV businesses aimed at accelerating the revitalization and growth of its electronics business.

Sony has been aggressively implementing a reform strategy across its electronics business, as originally announced in April 2012.

Sony has launched high value-added products that bring together the best of Sony's technological strengths and introduced new market-leading platforms and business models. At the same time, Sony identified PCs and TVs as businesses for which profitability improvement would be a key priority and implemented various reform measures. Sony now anticipates its target of returning the TV and PC businesses to profitability will not be achieved within the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014.

Sony is now also taking further significant steps to address reform of the PC and TV businesses, while at the same time moving forward with further optimization and streamlining of its manufacturing, sales and headquarters/indirect functions, and concentrating resources in growth businesses.

Sony and Japan Industrial Partners have concluded a memorandum of understanding confirming the parties' intent for Sony to sell to JIP Sony's PC business currently operated under the VAIO brand. As a part of the business transfer to JIP, Sony will cease planning, design and development of PC products. Manufacturing and sales will also be discontinued after the Spring 2014 line-up to be launched globally.

Sony has been engaged in various cost reduction initiatives for the TV business, as outlined in its TV business profitability improvement plan announced in November 2011. These initiatives include enhancing LCD panel-related cost efficiency and rationalizing R&D expenses, while also strengthening product competitiveness and operational efficiency in order to improve marginal profit ratio. Due to these measures, losses from the TV business, which amounted to 147.5 billion yen in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 (FY11), were successfully reduced to 69.6 billion yen in FY12, and are now anticipated to be reduced further, to approximately 25 billion yen in FY13.

While Sony now anticipates that its target of returning the TV business to profitability will not be achieved within FY13 largely due to unexpected factors such as the slowdown in emerging markets and declining currency rates, the reforms executed within the TV business over the past two years are putting the business on a path to turnaround.

TVs continue to play a vital role as the centrepiece of the home viewing experience and Sony has announced that it aims to leverage the wealth of technological expertise and assets accumulated within this business as key differentiation technologies across its entire product line-up. In light of the TV business' continued importance within Sony's overall strategy, the Company has decided to execute the additional reform measures detailed below, with the aim of establishing a structure capable of delivering stable profit beginning in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015

First, Sony will shift its product mix and focus on increasing the proportion of sales from high-end models in FY14. Sony plans to reinforce the company's position in the 4K market by strengthening its product line-up while also bolstering its 2K models with wide colour range and image-enhancing technologies. In emerging markets, Sony will aim to harness market expansion by developing and launching models tailored to specific local needs.

Second, Sony will accelerate and broaden its on-going cost reduction and operational improvement measures, focusing attention across all functions relevant to the TV business, including manufacturing, sales, and headquarters/indirect functions (as outlined below)

In addition, to help transform this business into a more efficient and dynamic organization, optimized in size and structure for the current competitive business environment and fully accountable for its operations, Sony has decided to split out the TV business and operate it as a wholly-owned subsidiary. The targeted timeframe for this transition is July 2014. By implementing these measures, Sony is aiming to further enhance its TV business' profit structure and return the business to profitability during FY14.

DTG Staff  |  06.02.2014

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