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Sony blames record $5.7bn loss on everything but Sony

Quake, floods, strong yen, Moon's alignment with Jupiter

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Disasters both natural and manmade have led to tech megacorp Sony reporting a record loss for the fiscal year ending in March.

Sony blamed its performance on the 2011 earthquake that wrecked east Japan and Thailand's devastating floods, both of which disrupted factories and suppliers, as well as poor consumer appetite for shiny gear and the strong yen caused by global economic woes.

The company reported a net loss of ¥456.7bn ($5.7bn, £3.5bn), down from a loss of ¥259.6bn ($3.3bn, £2bn) in the previous fiscal year, on sales of ¥6.5trn ($81bn, £50bn), which decreased 9.6 per cent year-on-year.

The strong yen really ate into the sales figures; the average rate against the dollar was 8.5 per cent higher than the previous year's, and 3.9 per cent higher against the euro. On a constant currency basis, sales still declined but only by five percent.

Sony also took quite a hit from the floods in Thailand.

"As a result of direct damage from the inundation of Sony’s manufacturing facilities starting in October 2011, Sony incurred expenses of ¥13.2bn ($168m, £103m) during the current fiscal year, including charges for the disposal or impairment of fixed assets and inventories and restoration costs (eg, repair, removal and cleaning costs)," the company said in a canned statement.

"In addition to these direct damages, due to the difficulty in procuring parts and components, production at several manufacturing facilities temporarily ceased. As a result, Sony incurred charges of ¥13.9bn ($170m, £108m) during the current fiscal year, consisting of idle facility costs at manufacturing sites and other additional expenses."

This was also the year that Sony restructured, bought out Ericsson's half of Sony Ericsson and sold its shares in S-LCD, a telly venture with Samsung, at a loss of ¥63.4bn ($773m, £494m).

Aside from disasters and investments, Sony encountered the usual problems of the old tech guard - everyone already has a TV and the mobile market has been gobbled up almost entirely by Apple and Samsung.

The Japanese firm also faces increased competition in the gaming world, from other consoles as well as the growing trend for playing on social networks, fondleslabs and smartphones.

Market watchers are hoping that Sony will push some of its PlayStation tech onto its new Sony-only mobes to come up with something a bit different that could capture the imagination of a new breed of fanboy.

Sony is predicting a net profit of ¥30bn ($377m, £233m) for next year, hoping to turn around its telly business and ship 33.3 million smartphones, compared to 22.5 million last year. ®

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