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Sony to ax 10,000 workers in restructuring

Thu, 04/12/2012 - 2:43pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

As expected, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai plans to slash 10,000 jobs from the company’s workforce as Sony works to turn around its business amid worst-ever projected losses.

Hirai, who replaced former chief executive Howard Stringer at the beginning of this month, said today the headcount reductions, about 6 percent of its global staff, were necessary to "enhance operational efficiencies."

The announcement came two days after Sony doubled its projected losses for its 2011 fiscal year to $6.4 billion, said to be the most severe amid a steady stream of losses over the past four years. Rumors of the mass layoffs announced today first surfaced Monday when Sony came out with the financial report.

Under the latest restructuring plan, dubbed "One Sony," the company plans to bring its television business back to profitability over the next two years and increase its focus on digital imaging, gaming and mobile devices.

It also will expand its presence in emerging markets like India and pursue new business areas, including electronics for the health care industry.

Sony has been struggling to turn around its wide-ranging electronics business, which has seen a sales slump amid competition from companies like Apple and Samsung.

Hirai set financial targets of sales of 8.5 trillion yen, about $10.5 billion, and an operating income margin of more than 5 percent for its 2014 fiscal year.

Sony is hinging its mobile strategy on its former joint venture with Ericsson, Sony Ericsson. It bought out Ericsson's stake in the company in February and is now the sole owner of the handset maker, now operating as Sony Mobile Communications.

Sony Ericsson lost $266 million in its last quarter as the joint venture as slumping handset shipments hit its financial results.

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