Sony Sticks With TV Profit Target Amid Declining Market Share

Sony Corp. is sticking with a goal of turning Japan’s largest TV-manufacturing business profitable this fiscal year even as it continues losing global market share to Samsung Electronics Co.

Sony plans to increase TV sales this fiscal year from a target of 13.5 million units in the year ended March 31, Masashi Imamura, a senior vice president in charge of home entertainment products at Sony, told reporters in Tokyo today. He didn’t give a new number.

The TV business probably lost about 80 billion yen ($804 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, Imamura said, reiterating a company projection from February for a ninth straight year of losses. Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai is focusing on high-end products, such as the ultra-high definition Bravia sets that offer resolution four times sharper than conventional models, as part of plans to revive the operation.

“Major operational reform at the unit is over,” Imamura said. “We will continue to make efforts to trim costs this fiscal year. We have reduced the costs we had planned to reduce in fiscal 2012, and that will help us make the business profitable.”

The company trimmed its full-year TV sales target to 13.5 million units in February from the 17.5 million projected at the beginning of the fiscal year, citing a slowing global economy. The company is reducing the number of models and cutting 10,000 jobs to lower expenses after losing about 31 percent of its market value last year.

Samsung, LG

Sony ranked third in the global flat-panel TV market in 2012, trailing South Korea’s Samsung and LG Electronics Inc., as the Tokyo-based company’s share of revenue fell to 7.8 percent from 11.2 percent a year earlier, according to DisplaySearch.

Worldwide shipments of liquid-crystal-display sets, the biggest TV segment, may grow 7 percent to 216 million in 2013, according to DisplaySearch.

Sales at Japanese TV makers including Sony, Panasonic Corp. and Sharp Corp. may change little, while South Korean peers and Chinese manufacturers such as Hisense Electric Co. may boost shipments by more than 10 percent, the researcher said.

Sony will release two new ultra-high definition TVs in Japan starting June 1, including a 55-inch set costing 500,000 yen and a 65-inch set costing 750,000 yen, it said today. The models follow an 84-inch set introduced last year as the company’s first ultra-high definition set for home use.

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