UPDATE 1-Sony seen posting first op loss in 14 years -Nikkei

Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:02pm GMT

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NEW YORK Jan 12 (Reuters) - Sony Corp (6758.T) is expected to post an operating loss of about 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) for 2007/08, the Nikkei business daily reported, far short of the company forecast for a profit of 200 billion yen.

The operating loss -- Sony's first in 14 years -- could be double that, depending on inventory conditions in the January-March quarter, the Nikkei said it had learned.

In October, Sony forecast a full-year operating profit of 200 billion yen for the year to March 31, down from 475.2 billion yen in 2006/07.

The maker of Bravia flat TVs and PlayStation 3 video game consoles said in December that it would cut 16,000 jobs, curb investment and pull out of some businesses to save $1.1 billion a year as the global recession hits demand for its products.

The loss would be only the second since Sony went public in 1958 and the first caused by troubles in its mainstay electronics business, the Nikkei said.

A one-time charge related to the company's U.S. film studio business was primarily responsible for the previous operating loss, reported for the year ended March 1995, it said.

Apart from restructuring charges and possible further losses on exchange rates, Sony is expected to write down roughly 50 billion yen of its holding in Sony Life Insurance Co, the newspaper said.

Sony shares (SNE.N) fell 1.5 percent at $23.20 on the New York Stock Exchange early Monday afternoon.

Many analysts expect Sony to undertake further restructuring steps, but the company earlier this month denied a report in the Times of London newspaper that it planned to announce closures of Japanese factories and major divisions next month.

($=89.12 yen) (Reporting by Ted Kerr; editing by Gunna Dickson, Richard Chang)

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