Sony Corp <6758.T> reported a second straight quarterly loss hurt by a firmer yen, sluggish sales and restructuring costs, and it forecast a smaller-than-expected annual loss for the year ahead.
Consumer electronics makers worldwide were battered last year as the global downturn dampened demand for TVs and mobile phones. Japanese companies such as Sony, Panasonic Corp <6752.T> and Sharp Corp <6753.T> suffered an additional blow as the yen's strength made their products less price competitive overseas.
Sony saw sales at its cell phone joint venture with Ericsson
The maker of PlayStation games and Cyber-shot digital cameras is in the process of cutting 16,000 jobs and reducing its network of 57 manufacturing sites by 10 percent to survive the financial crisis.
Sony, which competes with Samsung Electronics Co <005930.KS> in LCD TVs and Canon Inc <7751.T> in digital cameras, forecast an operating loss of 110 billion yen ($1.15 billion) for the financial year to March 2010.
That would be smaller than its 227.78 billion yen loss a year earlier and less than a consensus of a 132.9 billion yen loss in a poll of 20 analysts by Thomson Reuters.
Analysts expect the worldwide digital camera and mobile phone market to contract this year as the recession dampens replacement demand, capping Sony's earnings recovery despite aggressive cost cuts.
Sony's operating loss came in at 294.31 billion yen in January-March, a huge downturn from its profit of 6.18 billion yen a year ago. Sales fell 22 percent to 1.524 trillion yen.
Shares in Sony closed down 6.8 percent at 2,400 yen ahead of the earnings announcement, underperforming the Tokyo stock market's electrical machinery index <.IELEC.T>, which fell 4.1 percent.
The stock has gained 34 percent this year through Wednesday, while the subindex was up 22 percent.
(Reporting by Sachi Izumi; Editing by Anshuman Daga)