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Sony plans overhaul at TV business

Sony Corp., Japan’ largest exporter of consumer electronics, is planning an overhaul of its television operations as the business faces an eighth consecutive year of losses.

The company is aiming to draw up the plans by the end of the month and changes may include reforms at the TV business development, procurement and sales operations, said Mami Imada, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman, declining to elaborate on details. The plans may also include partnerships with other companies, she said.

The Tokyo-based maker of Bravia TVs cut its sales and profit estimate last week, citing sluggish sales of TVs in the U.S. and Europe. The company, reeling from three straight years of company-wide losses, also slashed its full-year TV sales target by 19 percent to 22 million units.

In the past two years, Sony has sold three factories, reducing its number of TV plants worldwide to four, as part of the company’s efforts to reduce costs.

Last March, Sony agreed to sell 90 percent of a TV factory in Nitra, Slovakia, to Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., after disposing of 90 percent of its largest North American TV-making site to Taipei-based Hon Hai. Sony also agreed to sell a TV facility in Barcelona in September.

While analysts say Sony shares may rise as sales of its PlayStation game consoles and Cyber-shot digital cameras bolster profit this year, stripping out losses at the TV business from the rest of the company would boost its equity to $43 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. By selling the TV division, Sony would exit a business that is forecast to lose almost a billion dollars this year as consumers unwilling to pay for its Bravia flat-screen TVs turn to cheaper brands.

The Nikkei newspaper reported earlier today Sony will outline plans for its TV operations, citing Chief Financial Officer Masaru Kato.