Two major Japanese electronics companies, Sony Corp. and Sharp (News - Alert) Corp., reported large net losses for the fiscal year 2011, resulting in a combined loss of 900 billion yen (about $11 U.S.), due in part to the first decline in global TV shipments in six years and a stronger yen.
Sony reported a record loss of 520 billion yen, much lower than its February prediction, due to additional tax expenses. Sharp also reported a record loss of 380 billion yen – 31 percent lower than its earlier estimates.
Aside from declining TV shipments and the strength of the yen, both companies saw severe losses in their mobile departments thanks to the success of Apple (News - Alert) and Samsung in that area. Additionally, the floods in Thailand and last year's earthquake have exacerbated what would already have been a difficult year for the Japanese electronics industry.
In response, Sony's new President, Kazuo Hirai, thinks he may have to raise equity and cut jobs. Sharp instead turned to Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group (News - Alert) for $1.6 billion.
The yen's 7.3-percent increase against the U.S. dollar and resulting 11-percent gain on the euro in 2011 crippled overseas earnings. With Sony reporting that 70 percent of its revenue was made outside of Japan in 2011 and Sharp 47 percent, this factor made a huge difference in their bottom lines.
Meanwhile, global TV shipments fell to their lowest point in six years, due to an excess in inventory in both the U.S. and Europe, by 0.3 percent, equalling approximately 247.7 million units. Korean electronics giants Samsung and LG Electronics (News - Alert) also managed to increase their market share in the global flat panel TV market with Sony, Panasonic and Sharp all posting declining market share. Samsung also reported last week a record first quarter operating profit of 5.8 trillion won ($5.1 billion), perhaps signalling a shift in the electronics market toward Korean control.
Edited by Braden Becker