CEO: Sony needed to act sooner, but will reform

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 22, 2014 at 5:38 am •  Published: May 22, 2014
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TOKYO (AP) — Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai said Thursday the company accumulated huge losses because it didn't respond quickly enough to changing market conditions, but promised a return to profit next year.

Last week, Sony reported a 128.4 billion yen ($1.3 billion) loss for the fiscal year ended March. It is forecasting a 50 billion yen ($490 million) loss for the current fiscal year. Sony has repeatedly disappointed investors by not achieving its profit forecasts.

"We must acknowledge that out steps to take action had come much too slowly," he told reporters at the Japanese entertainment and electronics giant's Tokyo headquarters. "We are going to fully complete our structural reforms."

Hirai's vision of Sony's turnaround centers on key technologies such as image sensors, cloud-based services and wearable devices.

He stressed that although Sony's electronics business was ailing, it was doing well in other areas such as finance, which includes a bank and insurance services, and entertainment, which boasts a successful "Spider-Man" film franchise and the PlayStation 4 video game machine.

He denied the company will sell or pull the plug on its money-losing TV business. Once a leader in TVs, Sony has lost out to competitors such as South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. which led in the shift to flat panels.

Sony's TV operations have been struggling for a decade, fueling speculation Sony might exit the business entirely.

Hirai, however, said he was banking on 4K TVs, which deliver better image quality than current high-definition digital TVs.

Still, scaling back on areas where a company is suffering is often part of its turnaround plan.

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