Sony’s worst year ever: reports $5.7B annual loss for 2011

2011 was a dark year for electronics giant Sony: a slew of natural disasters, terrible TV business, and slow sales all around, pushed Sony to its worst annual earnings ever, with a loss of $5.7 billion for 2011.

On the bright side, that was lower than the $6.5 billion loss the company previously predicted (mostly due to a tax hit) — but it’s still the lowest point in the company’s 66-year history. For the fourth quarter ending in March, the company reported its fifth straight quarterly loss of $3.2 billion.

Sony pointed to supplier and factory damage in Japan — a result of last year’s earthquake and tsunami — as a big reason for its poor year. The company was also impacted by the floods in Thailand last year, which affected its production suppliers.

“This year remains crucial for a recovery in our electronics business,” Sony chief financial officer Masaru Kato said, who also noted the company was on track to turn around its struggling TV business. “A fifth straight year of losses should never be tolerated.”

Sony has high hopes for 2012 though, with projected profits of $375 million on revenues of $2.2 billion.

It seems that this year will be a major transition period for Sony, as it tries to correct the mistakes of the past. The company tapped Kazuo Hirai as its new CEO back in February, who quickly laid out a plan to save Sony. Hirai unveiled his new One Sony restructuring last month, which aims to streamline the company’s innovation and focus it on gaming, mobile devices, and digital imaging. The company is pouring $1 billion into the restructuring effort, even after it just laid off 10,000 employees.

It’s unclear how Sony will combat Samsung’s new lead in HDTVs, as the Korean competitor has focused heavily on creating quality displays and building the connected experience in its sets. Sony is looking to streamline its display efforts, but its Google TV partnership could lead to some interesting sets in the next year.

Via AP, Sony (PDF)

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

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