Page last updated at 07:23 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

Slow mobile sales hit Sony profit

A customer checks Japanese electronics giant Sony's Bravia brand LCD TVs at an electronics shop in Tokyo
Sony has seen weak demand for its products in the downturn

Sony has reported a loss for a fourth consecutive quarter, hit by slow mobile handset sales, but has narrowed its full year loss forecast.

The company suffered an operating loss of 32.6bn yen ($357.5m; £216.9m)in the three months to September, from a profit of 11.05bn yen a year earlier.

However it has now cut its operating loss forecast to 60bn yen from 110bn yen for the year ending March 2010.

Meanwhile Panasonic and Toshiba both reported quarterly profits.

Operating profit at Panasonic, the world's largest plasma TV maker, was 49.1bn yen in the three months to September, against 118.6bn yen a year earlier.

The company posted a 72.9bn yen profit last year.

And Toshiba said its microchip operations had earned it an operating profit of 5.2bn yen in the three months to September, up from a 29.3bn yen loss the previous year, helped by cost cutting and steadier prices.

Sony, the world's second largest LCD TV maker, recently cut the sales price of its PlayStation 3 games console.

"The outlook looks a bit brighter, but we need to watch whether its semiconductor business will pick up," said Kazutaka Oshima, of Ratuken Investment Management in Tokyo.

"I also feel positive about its outlook as Sony managed to narrow down its losses despite the yen's strength."

However, Sony's mobile phone joint venture with Sweden's Ericsson has seen a recent decline in sales, which some analysts put down to its lack of a strong smartphone handset to rival Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's Blackberry.

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