updated 4/27/2005 8:00:05 AM ET 2005-04-27T12:00:05

Japanese electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp. on Wednesday reported a bigger group net loss for the January-March quarter compared to a year ago, battered by slumping sales and restructuring costs.

Tokyo-based Sony recorded a group net loss of 56.5 billion yen ($533 million) for the fourth quarter, compared with a loss one year earlier of 38.2 billion yen.

Sony, which also has key music, movie and video-game businesses, said in a statement that sales shrank 4.2 percent to 1.697 trillion yen ($16 billion) from 1.772 trillion yen ($16.7 billion) for the same quarter last year.

Sony has been fighting off growing competition in consumer electronics from cheaper Asian manufacturers, while falling behind other rivals in critical hits like the iPod from Apple Computer Inc. Sony has been struggling to make a turnaround, but the latest results show its recovery remains weak.

Sales declined during the quarter in mobile phones, portable music players and old-style TV sets, although they were up in flat-panel and rear-projection televisions. The launch of the PlayStation Portable, the handheld video-game machine, helped boost sales in Sony’s game operations, Sony said.

Shipments of the PSP, which went on sale late last year in Japan and earlier this year in the United States, totaled 2.97 million worldwide. Sony said it hopes to reach global PSP shipments of 12 million for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006.

In the music segment, sales decreased due to the creation of Sony BMG, a joint venture formed by Sony and Bertelsmann AG. Its performance has been reflected under equity in net income since August 2004.

Sales also decreased in Sony’s movies business.

Still, profits at Sony improved for the full fiscal year ended March 31. Group net profit totaled 163.8 billion yen ($1.5 billion), nearly double the 88.5 billion yen earned the previous year. Sales dipped 4.5 percent to 7.16 trillion yen ($67.6 billion) from 7.5 trillion yen.

For the year through March 2006, Sony expects group net profit to fall 51 percent to 80 billion yen ($755 million), while sales are forecast to edge up 4 percent to 7.45 trillion yen ($70 billion).

Sony, which booked 90 billion yen ($849 million) in restructuring-related charges last fiscal year, plans to book another 72 billion ($680 million) in such costs for the current fiscal year.

Sony is signing on a new management team, appointing Howard Stringer, who headed Sony’s entertainment division, as the chief executive, replacing Nobuyuki Idei.

Stringer is the first foreigner to head the electronics company famous worldwide for the Walkman music player and PlayStation 2 video-game console.

Sony shares, which have fluctuated over the last year to be little changed from a year ago, closed up 2 percent at 3,990 yen ($38) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange shortly before earnings were announced.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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