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Business

Sony to ax another 1,000 workers in smartphone segment

TOKYO -- Sony plans to cut an additional 1,000 employees in its smartphone business, mainly in Europe and China, under an effort to bring the segment into the black.

     The Japanese electronics giant had announced last October that it would eliminate around 1,000 jobs, mainly in smartphone operations. It has apparently decided to let more people go in hopes of improving earnings. In all, the workforce will shrink by roughly 30% to 5,000 as of the end of the fiscal year through March 2016.

     Sony is expected to outline the new restructuring plan when releasing its April-December earnings Feb. 4.

     The company is seen booking a roughly 180 billion yen ($1.5 billion) impairment loss in its smartphone business this fiscal year due to stiff competition with Chinese manufacturers. The costs for additional restructuring are estimated at tens of billions of yen, with most to be booked next fiscal year. But Sony is unlikely to miss its forecast of a 40 billion yen consolidated operating loss this fiscal year, since such segments as image sensors and games are doing well.

     The smartphone business is expected to log an operating loss of around 200 billion yen this fiscal year. While it will likely continue losing money next year, Sony aims to make it profitable in fiscal 2016 with the additional restructuring measures and other steps.

     Sony is seen selling 41 million smartphones this fiscal year, 9 million fewer than the initial target. It intends to sharply scale back Chinese sales while stepping up partnerships with mobile carriers in such markets as the U.S. and Japan. Plans call for whittling down the product lineup by about 30% and focusing on high-value-added models priced at 30,000 yen and above, including unique smartphones that draw on its image sensor technologies. Sony also hopes to develop new services, such as the use of smartphones to control equipment and appliances in homes.

(Nikkei)

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