Sony has announced that it will lay off about 2,000 employees by the end of 2012, including a 20% staff reduction at the company's Tokyo headquarters and 20% from its Home Entertainment and Sound Business Group. The decision is part of a plan revealed earlier this year to cut roughly 10,000 jobs or about 6% of Sony's global workforce by March 2013 in an attempt to save cash and restructure some business elements.
About 840 of the 2,000 layoffs will stem from the closure of a factory in Minokamo, Japan that makes interchangeable lenses for DSLR cameras, lens blocks and mobile phones. Some of this production will be picked up by another Sony facility in Kohda, but the company indicates that the move is partly geared toward phasing out certain feature phone components as the company looks to focus on high-end smartphones.
The latest move follows the sale of a chemical business to a state-run bank last month, which offloaded some 1,800 employees. Sony doesn't expect these cuts to impact its consolidated results forecast for fiscal 2012 since they were included in the previously announced 10,000 workforce reduction and 75 billion yen ($947 million) in restructuring charges. However, the changes should lower the company's annual fixed costs by about 30 billion yen ($379 million) starting with its next fiscal year, which begins in April.
The ailing electronics maker lost more than 450 billion yen ($5.7 billion) in 2011, marking the worst annual period in the company's 66-year history and its fourth consecutive year of losses. Sony's share price has fallen 42% since newly appointed CEO Kazuo Hirai took over six months ago and it fell by more than 50% during former CEO Howard Stringer's seven-year stint. The company expects to return to profit this year, though it recently lowered its outlook from earnings of 30 billion yen to 20 billion yen ($257 million).