Sony will cut jobs at TV group and headquarters, and close Japanese phone factory

The company said the cuts, part of 10,000 announced in April, will come mainly through early retirement and job transfers

Sony said Friday that its current round of job cuts will include workers in its struggling TV business and at its headquarters in Tokyo, and it will close a mobile phone and lens factory in central Japan.

The job cuts, part of a global staff reduction of 10,000 announced in April, reflect Sony's shift to outsource more manufacturing to component makers and vendors such as Foxconn. The company said the latest cuts will include about 2,000 workers and will come mainly from an early retirement program and shifting workers outside the company.

Sony said it will also close a factory in Gifu prefecture, west of Tokyo, that makes low-end mobile phones and digital imaging equipment including lenses. The imaging work will be shifted to a separate factory, while Sony will continue to focus on its higher end smartphones, sold mainly under the Xperia brand.

"This factory mainly makes feature phones for the Japanese market," said Sony spokesman George Boyd.

The electronics giant is in the middle of a restructuring plan that will reduce its global head count by 10,000 by March 2013, the end of its fiscal year. The company had 162,700 employees globally as of March of this year.

Echoing changes at other Japanese tech companies such as Sharp and Panasonic, which have moved and sold key offices in recent months, Sony will also make job cuts at its headquarters in Tokyo.

Sony said its latest staff reduction will include about 20 percent of the workforce at its main offices, or 500 to 600 employees, most of which are support staff. As the latest cuts are part of its existing restructuring plan, the company doesn't expect any new impact on its earnings forecast - Sony currently targets a profit of ¥20 billion (US$250 million) for the current fiscal year.

Sony is due to report its results for the July-September quarter on Nov. 1.

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Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
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