Sony forecasts $6.4bn annual loss

Sony Corp forecast a record $6.4bn net loss for the business year just ended, its fourth straight year of losses and double earlier forecasts, inflated by writing off deferred tax assets in the United States.

In a bid to ease investor concerns over its deteriorating bottom line, the Japanese consumer electronics giant said it would bounce back and make an operating profit in the current year of 180 billion yen.

Sony on Tuesday forecast a 520 billion yen ($6.4bn) net loss for the year to end-March 2012. In February it had forecast an annual net loss of 220bn yen. The additional loss is from write-offs of tax credits in the United States, which the company cannot use because of the losses it has racked up.

Sony, which plans to axe 10,000 jobs - around 6 percent of its global workforce - according to media reports this week, has been hammered by weak demand for its televisions and fierce competition from South Korean rivals such as Samsung Electronics.

Kazuo Hirai, who took over as CEO this month, has promised to get the struggling TV business back on its feet within two years. That business alone has accumulated losses of $10bn over the last decade.

Sony shares closed down 3.5 per cent ahead of the announcement, its biggest one-day drop in three weeks. The benchmark Nikkei average ended around 1 percent lower.

The annual results are due on 21 May.