Sony Corp racked up a record annual loss of 457 billion yen ($5.7 billion) in its fourth straight year of red ink
as the once-glorious maker of the Walkman and PlayStation struggles toward a turnaround under a new president
The electronics and entertainment company, which also makes "Spider-Man" movies, reported a loss of 255 billion yen ($3.2 billion) for the January-March period - its fifth straight quarterly net loss to round out a fiscal year that was the worst in its 66-year corporate history.
The latest red ink was worse than 1995, which followed Sony's ambitious but disastrous purchase of Hollywood studio Columbia Pictures.
Sony's recent troubles were worsened by factory and supplier damage in northeastern Japan, ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami last year. Sony also suffered production disruptions from the flooding in Thailand.Quarterly sales inched up 1.2 per cent
on-year to 1.6 trillion yen ($20 billion). Annual sales plunged nearly 10 per cent to 6.5 trillion yen ($81 billion).
Sony has bled money for eight straight years in its core TV business, bashed by competition from Samsung Electronics of South Korea and other Asian rivals.
A soaring yen that erodes the overseas earnings of Japanese exporters like Sony has also added to the damage.
Sony is aiming for a comeback under Kazuo Hirai, appointed president last month, who has headed the gaming division and built his career in the US.
Sony forecast a return to profit for the fiscal year through March 2013 at 30 billion yen ($375 million), banking on the growing smartphone and tablet business, as well as a recovery from last year's disasters.
Sony had recorded a 260 billion yen loss the previous fiscal year.
The latest results were better than the 520 billion yen ($6.5 billion) annual loss the Tokyo-based company had projected. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated a more optimistic 430 billion yen ($5.3 billion) loss.
Sony said sales improved in its film business, lifted by television and video-on-demand for the "Spider-Man" series, but profits fell slightly, despite the popularity of "The Smurfs" and "Bad Teacher," offsetting the failure of "Arthur Christmas."