Sony predicts $6.4bn 2011 loss but profit ahead

Sony has revised its financial forecast for the 2011 financial year, more than doubling its estimated loss to $6.4bn as it warns investors that US taxes have eaten into its cashflow. According to Sony [pdf link], a combination of not being allowed to defer taxes any longer, as well as extra taxes incurred through shifting its profit between subsidiaries, explain why the forecast for the full 2011 fiscal year jumped from a 220 billion yen loss predicted in February to 520 billion yen today. However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

Despite the shaky ground of the past year or so, Sony is surprisingly ambitious about the coming twelve months. For the new 2012 financial year – which on Sony's calendar began April 1 – the company estimates it will return to making a profit.

In fact, it's suggesting it will have made around 180 billion yen ($2.2bn) in profit by the close of the current financial year on March 31, 2013. The company will announce its full predictions – as well as giving a post-mortem on the year just gone – on May 10, 2012.

As for how that profit is expected to come about, Sony's new CEO and president Kaz Hirai is expected to use a combination of dramatic restructuring and job losses to bring the company back on track. According to leaks earlier this week, Sony is about to announce around 10,000 redundancies as well as the cancellation of bonuses for its senior exec team.

Meanwhile, Hirai is looking to enact his "One Sony" strategy, harmonizing the various divisions of the company into a more holistic whole across the product range, as well as focusing on key strengths in digital imaging, gaming and mobile.