Sony halved net losses last year, beating forecast

Bravia LCD TVs, Vaio PCs and PlayStations gave Sony a better-than-expected end to the year

Sony remained in the red last year but managed to more than halve losses thanks to a better-than-expected end to the financial year, the company said Monday.

The company said it lost around ¥41 billion (US$442 million) in the fiscal year from April 2009 to March 2010, a significant improvement on the ¥98.9 billion lost last year when it was dealing with the effects of a slowdown in the global economy.

Net sales dropped around 7 percent to ¥7.2 trillion, the company said.

Sony is due to announce full-year earnings on Thursday and Monday's announcement, while officially a restating of the company's forecast, is essentially a preannouncement of its results.

The net loss figure is better than Sony's previous prediction but the drop in net sales is slightly worse than anticipated. In February, the company said it expected to lose ¥70 billion and for net sales to be around ¥7.3 trillion.

The company said it was restating estimates due in part to better-than-forecast results at its consumer electronics division, which includes its LCD television business. Sony said prices didn't fall as fast as it had expected so it was able to make more money on big-screen TV sales.

Results from the company's PlayStation game business and Vaio laptop PC business were also better than predicted, it said.

Several of Sony's business segments also benefited from the results of an ongoing cost-cutting program that has seen loss-making businesses cut and factories closed.

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