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Sony is closing a factory in France as part of a billion-dollar cost-cutting plan which will see it lose at least five production sites by March 2010.

It will lay off 8,000 staff and shut two factories, and take short-term measures like reducing inventory and production and delaying investments. It will get rid of about 10 per cent of its 57 factories.

The Sony Dax plant in France, which makes tape and other recordable media, will shut. The planned opening of an LCD TV assembly plant in Slovakia has been postponed. The company wants to reduce investments in the electronics business 30 per cent by 2010.

The firm will withdraw or downsize from unprofitable and non-core businesses.

Sony will also cut spending this year by outsourcing a higher proportion of manufacturing of CMOS image sensors for mobile phones.

The company will reduce headcount by 8,000 out of a total of 160,000 including jobs at its headquarters and reducing seasonal and temporary staff. It hopes these measures will help it save over ¥100bn ($1.1bn) in costs. It will give more details with its financial results in January.

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