Sony now expects $3.2 billion loss due to earthquake

Following a recent return to profitability, the electronics giant is now anticipating a loss for its full fiscal year based on the impact of the Japanese earthquake.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

After earlier predicting a profitable fiscal year, Sony now expects to lose a total of 260 billion yen ($3.2 billion) for the year, a change due in huge part to the effects of the Japanese earthquake.

In a statement (PDF) released today, the electronics giant revised its figures for its fiscal year ended March 31 from those originally offered in February. The forecast of a $3.2 billion loss is quite different than its earlier projection of a profit of 70 billion yen ($857 million) for the year.

Sony also slightly lowered its revenue forecast to 7.18 trillion yen ($87.9 billion) from 7.2 trillion yen ($88.2 billion) in February. However, the estimate for operating income remained the same at 200 billion yen ($2.5 billion).

The company expects the impact of the quake on sales for the fiscal year just ended to be around 22 billion yen ($269.4 million) and the impact on operating income around 17 billion yen ($208.1 million).

Looking at the fiscal year ending March 2012, the effect will be greater, resulting in an impact on consolidated operating income of around 150 billion yen ($1.8 billion). However, Sony expects its sales and operating income for the fiscal year ending next March to be around flat and net income to be positive.

Because of the earthquake-related losses in the next fiscal year, Sony has also been forced to write off 360 billion yen ($4.4 billion) against certain deferred tax assets in Japan.

Beyond the blow to its bottom line from the quake, Sony is also facing damage to its reputation and future results from the cyberattack launched against its PlayStation network last month. The breach, which resulted in a loss of customer data and temporary shutdown of the network, will not impact results for this fiscal year. But the company has already racked up costs of 14 billion yen (171.4 million) on customer support, legal expenses, network upgrades, and other items.

As a result of the PlayStation incident, Sony does expect to see an impact on next year's profits due to potentially lower sales in the future, but could not give any estimates at this point.

Sony plans to announce its fiscal year results on May 26.