Five questions answered on Sony’s slashing of its full-year profit projections

What has Sony said about its revised forecasts?

Japanese-based Sony has slashed its full-year profit forecast by 40 per cent. We answer five questions on the electronic giants profit falling predictions.

What’s Sony’s revised forecast for its profits?

The company is now anticipating to make a net profit of 30bn yen ($305; £190m) in the financial year to 31 March 2014.

This is down from earlier estimates of 50bn yen.

Why has Sony downgraded is profit estimates?

In the July-to-September quarter Sony’s loss widened from 25 per cent from a year ago to 19.3bn yen.

Its Pictures division was a key factor; it made a considerable loss due to some high profile failures. This particular division which includes movie production and TV shows, recorded an operating loss of 17.8bn yen during the period. This is compared to an operating profit of 7.9bn a year earlier.

What has Sony said about its revised forecasts?

"The current quarter reflects the theatrical underperformance of White House Down, while the previous fiscal year included the strong theatrical performance of the Amazing Spider-Man," the firm said in a statement.

What other problems has Sony had?

Things such as a decline in television licensing revenue due to fewer movies being licensed year-on-year, increased competition and slowing global demand for TVs and a decline in TV prices have all had a detrimental effect on the company.

Sony's TV division posted an operating loss of 9.3bn yen for the three months to the end of September.

The firm said that the division's earnings were hurt after it cut the price of its PlayStation Vita consoles.

Its Game division made an operating loss of 800m yen during the period, compared to an operating profit of 2.3bn yen during the same quarter last year.

What about Sony’s competitors - how are they doing?

Sharp and Panasonic reported profits for the July-to-September quarter.

Panasonic reported a net profit of 61.5bn yen for the period, reversing a loss of 698bn yen during the same period a year ago.

Sharp reported a net profit of 13.6bn yen for the quarter, reversing a loss of 17.9bn yen in the previous three months.

It also raised its full-year profit forecast to 270bn yen in the current financial year, up from its earlier projection of 250bn yen.

Sony has slashed its full-year profit forecast by 40 per cent. Photograph: Getty Images.

Heidi Vella is a features writer for Nridigital.com

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How tribunal fees silenced low-paid workers: “it was more than I earned in a month”

The government was forced to scrap them after losing a Supreme Court case.

How much of a barrier were employment tribunal fees to low-paid workers? Ask Elaine Janes. “Bringing up six children, I didn’t have £20 spare. Every penny was spent on my children – £250 to me would have been a lot of money. My priorities would have been keeping a roof over my head.”

That fee – £250 – is what the government has been charging a woman who wants to challenge their employer, as Janes did, to pay them the same as men of a similar skills category. As for the £950 to pay for the actual hearing? “That’s probably more than I earned a month.”

Janes did go to a tribunal, but only because she was supported by Unison, her trade union. She has won her claim, although the final compensation is still being worked out. But it’s not just about the money. “It’s about justice, really,” she says. “I think everybody should be paid equally. I don’t see why a man who is doing the equivalent job to what I was doing should earn two to three times more than I was.” She believes that by setting a fee of £950, the government “wouldn’t have even begun to understand” how much it disempowered low-paid workers.

She has a point. The Taylor Review on working practices noted the sharp decline in tribunal cases after fees were introduced in 2013, and that the claimant could pay £1,200 upfront in fees, only to have their case dismissed on a technical point of their employment status. “We believe that this is unfair,” the report said. It added: "There can be no doubt that the introduction of fees has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of cases brought."

Now, the government has been forced to concede. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Unison’s argument that the government acted unlawfully in introducing the fees. The judges said fees were set so high, they had “a deterrent effect upon discrimination claims” and put off more genuine cases than the flimsy claims the government was trying to deter.

Shortly after the judgement, the Ministry of Justice said it would stop charging employment tribunal fees immediately and refund those who had paid. This bill could amount to £27m, according to Unison estimates. 

As for Janes, she hopes low-paid workers will feel more confident to challenge unfair work practices. “For people in the future it is good news,” she says. “It gives everybody the chance to make that claim.” 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.