Sony now less plugged-in

Company announces job cuts in recession-wracked electronics unit

Sony is cutting 8,000 jobs and as many as several thousand seasonal and temporary positions amid the global recession. The cuts come in Sony's electronics unit, which employed about 160,000 as of Sept. 30 and has been most affected by the downturn.

Sony estimates that it can reach annual cost savings of more than ¥100 billion (currently $1.08 billion) by the end of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010, and cut investment in its electronics arm by 30% from previous targets for that year.

Spokespeople declined further comment.

Although the cuts are focused on the electronics business for now, the film unit has looked to control costs restricting T&E expenses, overtime and new hires.

Sony said the moves will "strengthen its corporate structure and bolster profitability" amid "the sudden and rapid changes in the global economic environment."

The electronics arm already has initiated short-term measures to address the weak macroeconomic environment, including adjusting production levels and lowering inventory, Sony said.

The company also said it plans to adjust product prices as the yen appreciates, delay or forgo investment plans and reduce or sell unprofitable or noncore businesses. For example, it is postponing a planned production expansion at a plant in Slovakia that assembles LCD televisions for the European market.

Overall, Sony plans to reduce its number of manufacturing sites by about 10% from the current total of 57.

Sony said it will detail severance charges and similar financial effects in January in its fiscal third-quarter earnings report. (partialdiff)
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