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Sony prepares for first loss in six years

Japanese giant blames economic downturn, pricing pressure

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Sony has admitted it will post its first loss in six years when it eventually releases its results for the second half of the fiscal year, ending March 1999. The Japanese giant predicted it will issue a loss of $313 million for the six-month period. It blamed the global economic downturn, price wars in many of the markets in which it operates and the recent surge in strength of the yen against the US dollar. Sony's profits in the first half of the year fell just 5.4 per cent compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year, leading to a profit of Y86.05 billion. Taking into account the predicted H2 loss, the company reckons it will make Y170 billion, based on current yen/dollar exchange rates, down from its earlier prediction of Y215 billion. Last year it made Y222 billion. The company cited major price cuts in the computer display, cellphone and CD-ROM drive arenas as key components in creating the loss. Prices in these markets fell 40 per cent, 50 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively. However, Sony did point out that sales of consumer electronics goods such as MiniDisk, video cameras and DVD units had remained buoyant. The company has also experienced strong sales of the PlayStation, it said. ® Click for more stories Click for story index

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