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Sony Says Full-Year TV Sales May Fall Short of Target

Sony Vice President Hiroshi Yoshioka
Sony Vice President Hiroshi Yoshioka. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Sony Corp., the world’s third-largest television maker, may miss a target to sell 25 million TVs this fiscal year, Vice President Hiroshi Yoshioka said.

The company may fall short of its goal for the year ending in March 31 by a “little bit,” he said in Tokyo today without elaborating.

Sony’s overall electronics sales are in-line with the previous year in developed countries and are increasing in emerging markets, said Yoshioka, who is in charge of the business. The maker of Bravia televisions said in October the television industry is heading toward “harsh competition,” making it difficult to bring the TV operations profitable this fiscal year.

“Judging from the difficult macro environment in the U.S. and the company’s previous pronouncements about profitability in the business, the sales shortfall is not a surprise,” said Nobuo Kurahashi, an analyst at Mizuho Financial Group Inc. in Tokyo. “The company understands the importance of linking contents and hardware to capture profits, but the execution is slow in coming.”

The company plans to increase capital spending next fiscal year ending March 2012 from the 230 billion yen ($2.7 billion) planned for the current 12-month period, Yoshioka said, without giving a specific figure. The additional spending will be used to bolster production of image sensors, semiconductors that convert light into a digital signal in cameras, he said.

Sony fell 1.2 percent to 2,930 yen at the 3 p.m. close of trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The company has gained 9.7 percent this year, compared with a 3.1 percent drop for Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

Global LCD TV shipments in 2010 may rise less than previously expected, increasing 24 percent to 180 million units, short of the 29 percent growth forecast earlier, Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch said in an Oct. 19 report.

To revive demand, Sony in October started offering Internet-enabled TVs in the U.S. that use Google Inc. software to let viewers access websites and Web videos. The Tokyo-based company is considering offering a 3-D version of the web-connected set.

“There is still restructuring to be done, but we expect the business to become profitable from the next fiscal year,” Yoshioka said.

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