Sony to close factories, sack 8,000

In another bad portent for the home electronics sector, Sony has announced an intention to cull 8,000 jobs - or roughly 5% of its workforce - and close up to six factories by March 2010.

The company, which employs around 160,000 full-time staff, also plans to reduce its seasonal and temporary workforce by an unspecified figure.

Sony has initiated a company-wide rationalisation scheme, and intends to reshuffle its remaining employees as part of a corporate restructuring.

By March 2010, Sony intends to reduce the number of manufacturing sites it operates by 10% from its current total of 57, starting with closures of two sites by the end of the current financial year - which in Japan ends on March 31. Sony's Dax Technology Center in France will be among the first to close its doors.

The company has also announced an intention to shift its focus to low-cost manufacturing areas, relying more on OEM and ODM partners to fill the gaps in its manufacturing ability. As a first step along this route, Sony intends to outsource part of its manufacturing plans for mobile-phone compatible CMOS image censors to unspecified third parties.

Due to the economic downturn the company also intends to reduce investment in the electronics business by around 30% next financial year.

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