Sony said its Mobile Communications business saw a loss in the year to 31 March, as it continues its efforts to return the business to the black.
The unit saw an operating loss of JPY61.4 billion ($566 million) for the twelve months, compared with a loss of JPY217.6 billion in the prior year, on revenue of JPY1.13 billion, down 20 per cent.
But the reduction in loss was primarily due to a goodwill charge of JPY176 billion in the prior year – without this, the picture would have been worse.
For the fourth quarter, the Mobile Communications unit reported an operating loss of JPY42.1 billion, down from a prior-year loss of JPY55.7 billion, on sales of JPY183.2 billion, down 37.9 per cent.
The company has seen a sharp drop in volume, with 24.9 million units shipped during the year, down from 39.1 million in the period to 31 March 2015. It shipped just 3.4 million in its most recent quarter, its lowest for quite some time.
This comes following a “strategic decision not to pursue scale in order to improve profitability”. While it said the significant decrease in smartphone sales was partially offset by an improvement in product mix and cost savings, it was also impacted by foreign exchange issues.
The company has also recorded significant restructuring charges (JPY21.64 billion) over the course of the year. Headcount has dropped from 7,100 staff to 4,500.
Meanwhile Sony cautioned that some smartphone components are made at one if its facilities which has been hit by an earthquake, which may have an impact on the mobile business.