Sony gains in Q4 but widens FY loss

Sony Ericsson widened its losses last year as sales plummeted, and the company would not say when it would return to the black. 

Announcing an €836 million full-year loss, president Bert Nordberg said 2010 would be “challenging as the full benefit of cost improvements will not impact results until the second half of the year.”
The handset firm shipped just 57.1 million phones in 2009, compared with 96.6 million in 2008, as it failed to find a device that could compete in the fast-growing smartphone segment.
It forecast a “slight growth” in the global handset market in 2010.
Revenue slumped 39.6% for the year to €6.8 billion. Excluding restructuring charges, the Japanese-Swedish JV made an operating loss of €854 million, compared with €61 million in 2008.
However, it improved its quarterly loss to €167 million, up from €187 million a year earlier, as it lifted operating margin from –5% to –2%. Handset shipments were down 39.6% from a year earlier.
Sony Ericsson said the fall in sales was mainly due to the global downturn “and a faster-than-anticipated shift to touch screen phones in the mid-priced sector of the market.” Average selling price (ASP) for the quarter rose sequentially by 5% to €120, it said.
Nordberg said the result showed the impact of the refreshed handset portfolio and the business transformation program.
“Continued cost saving activities and resource realignment are necessary in order to build a leaner, more efficient organization capable of meeting the demands of the changing competitive landscape.
“We will continue to focus on returning the company to profitability by establishing Sony Ericsson as the communication entertainment brand based on an exciting portfolio of mid- and high-end products,” he said, pointing to the recently-announced Android-based Xperia X10 device