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Sony TV head sees profitability by end of fiscal year

Speaking to reporters, the new Sony TV chief believes that his division can end the fiscal year in the black, despite 10 years of losses.


Sony's television division, which will be spun off Tuesday into a new subsidiary known as Sony Visual Products, will finally turn a profit this fiscal year, its chief executive believes.

Although he stopped short of saying just how much of a profit the Sony television business would generate, chief Masashi Imamura told reporters in Japan on Monday that a reduction in fixed costs, coupled with higher shipments, will help his subsidiary post a profit when Sony's fiscal year ends in March. Reuters, which was in attendance, reported on his comments Monday.

Sony's television division has been the subject of much debate over the years. The division has posted losses each of the last 10 years, and Sony chief Kazuo Hirai has been called on to sell it off. Each protest, however, has been met with pushback by Hirai, who has argued time and again that things can turn around.

Hirai decided earlier this year that Sony would spin off the ailing TV business, which lost $250 million in the last fiscal year. He argued that the move would allow for more transparency in the operation and could invite equity partners to come in and work with Sony on improving its operation.

There is a glimmer of hope that Imamura is clinging to: television sales increased 29.7 percent year over year in the last fiscal year. Speaking to reporters Monday, Imamura said that he believes Sony's television sales will jump 18.5 percent this year to 16 million units.

Sony's TV business commences life as a spinoff Tuesday. From that point on, the company will provide far more insight into exactly what's going on in the business and whether it'd be possible to succeed in the way Imamura predicts.

CNET has contacted Sony for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.