Sony prepares to lop off semiconductor biz

Devices division set for overhaul to also include batteries and storage

Sony is reorganizing its devices division, and spinning off its semiconductor business.

The Japanese electronics giant said that on April 1, 2016, Sony Semiconductor Solutions will begin operating as its own business with manufacturing, R&D, and sales operations. The new business will continue to operate as part of the Sony Group of companies.

"The aim of this new structure is to enable each of the three main businesses within this segment, namely the semiconductor, battery, and storage media businesses, to more rapidly adapt to their respective changing market environments and generate sustained growth," Sony said in announcing the move.

Central to the new business will be Sony's imaging sensors operation. The wildly successful sensor business develops the image sensors for cameras – ranging from smartphones to surveillance equipment – and has become a cash cow.

Sony is estimated to have a 40 per cent share of the entire imaging sensor market. In the last quarter, the Sony Devices business reported a 35 per cent gain [PDF] in earnings, thanks to its imaging sensors.

Terushi Shimizu was named as the expected president of the new company. He currently serves as deputy president of the device solutions group.

Meanwhile, Sony said its battery operation will continue to operate with its current structure as Sony Energy Devices Corporation. The business unit includes Sony's internal and external lithium-ion battery operations as well as its power supply and charger operations.

Finally, the business end of Sony's storage operations will now be folded in with the manufacturing business under the Sony Storage Media and Devices brand. Sony expects to complete that transfer by April 2016. ®

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