Japanese electronics company Hitachi on Tuesday forecasted a 700 billion yen ($7.8 billion) deficit as it headed to one of the worst fiscal year loss suffered by a Japanese manufacturer.

The company also reshuffled its executive leadership.

Hitachi sustained 356.91 billion yen ($4.078 billion) in net loss for the three months ending December 31 , down from a loss of 559 million yen ($6.28 billion) a year earlier as the weaker global economy caused exports to plunge.

Lower sales and the sharp appreciation of the yen are among the factors behind the huge loss, according the electronics maker, whose products range from light bulbs, car parts, rice cookers to nuclear reactors.

Meanwhile, the company's operating profit shrank by 8.5 percent to 182.56 billion yen ($2.05 billion) in the first nine months of fiscal 2008, with sales contracting 5.2 percent to 7.57 trillion yen ($85.06 billion).

Its forecast of a 700 billion yen ($7.8 billion) net loss for the full year comes only months after it estimated profits of 15 billion yen ($167.4 billion).

It's hard to foresee the future these days, and the only thing we can do in such times is to cut fixed costs and try to generate cash flow, Hitachi's senior vice president, Toyoaki Nakamura, told reporters.

We are bringing forward our restructuring efforts in the hope that these will bear fruit from the first quarter.

The company also announced management changes. Kazuo Furukawa will remain as CEO and president, but seven of the executive officers will be new, while six will have resigned. The remaining officers will have been promoted or shuffled to new jobs.

Last week, Hitachi announced plans to slash 7,000 jobs worldwide in its automobile and TV-related businesses.