Sony far from in black but trims quarterly loss to US$115 mil.


TOKYO–Sony Corp. is still struggling but managed to reduce its red ink for the latest quarter as the Japanese electronics and entertainment company aims for a comeback from record yearly losses.

Sony on Thursday reported a 10.7-billion-yen (US$115 million) loss for the October-December quarter compared with a 158-billion-yen loss a year earlier.

The company had a record loss of 457 billion yen for the fiscal year through March 2011 as its TV business struggled and it suffered from factory and supplier damage in northeastern Japan from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Quarterly sales inched up nearly 7 percent to 1.95 trillion yen (US$21 billion) despite declining sales of gadgets such as flat-panel TVs and Blu-ray video recorders, but only because Sony got a perk from a weaker yen.

The yen has been weakening because of expectations the central bank will ease monetary policy and that helped Sony by boosting the value of its overseas sales.

Sony has lost money for the past four years as it fell behind powerful rivals such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. in profitability and innovation.

Kazuo Hirai, who took over as president nine months ago, is promising to lead a comeback with what he calls “wow” products, such as nifty mobile devices, sophisticated digital cameras and interconnected gadgetry designed to show off Sony’s technological prowess.

The problem is that rivals are doing the same and sometimes doing it faster and at cheaper prices.

Sony’s TV division is in its ninth straight year of red ink.