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

Photo: Getty Images
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The Fire Brigades Union reaffiliates to Labour - what does it mean?

Any union rejoining Labour will be welcomed by most in the party - but the impact on the party's internal politics will be smaller than you think.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has voted to reaffiliate to the Labour party, in what is seen as a boost to Jeremy Corbyn. What does it mean for Labour’s internal politics?

Firstly, technically, the FBU has never affliated before as they are notionally part of the civil service - however, following the firefighters' strike in 2004, they decisively broke with Labour.

The main impact will be felt on the floor of Labour party conference. Although the FBU’s membership – at around 38,000 – is too small to have a material effect on the outcome of votes themselves, it will change the tenor of the motions put before party conference.

The FBU’s leadership is not only to the left of most unions in the Trades Union Congress (TUC), it is more inclined to bring motions relating to foreign affairs than other unions with similar politics (it is more internationalist in focus than, say, the PCS, another union that may affiliate due to Corbyn’s leadership). Motions on Israel/Palestine, the nuclear deterrent, and other issues, will find more support from FBU delegates than it has from other affiliated trade unions.

In terms of the balance of power between the affiliated unions themselves, the FBU’s re-entry into Labour politics is unlikely to be much of a gamechanger. Trade union positions, elected by trade union delegates at conference, are unlikely to be moved leftwards by the reaffiliation of the FBU. Unite, the GMB, Unison and Usdaw are all large enough to all-but-guarantee themselves a seat around the NEC. Community, a small centrist union, has already lost its place on the NEC in favour of the bakers’ union, which is more aligned to Tom Watson than Jeremy Corbyn.

Matt Wrack, the FBU’s General Secretary, will be a genuine ally to Corbyn and John McDonnell. Len McCluskey and Dave Prentis were both bounced into endorsing Corbyn by their executives and did so less than wholeheartedly. Tim Roache, the newly-elected General Secretary of the GMB, has publicly supported Corbyn but is seen as a more moderate voice at the TUC. Only Dave Ward of the Communication Workers’ Union, who lent staff and resources to both Corbyn’s campaign team and to the parliamentary staff of Corbyn and McDonnell, is truly on side.

The impact of reaffiliation may be felt more keenly in local parties. The FBU’s membership looks small in real terms compared Unite and Unison have memberships of over a million, while the GMB and Usdaw are around the half-a-million mark, but is much more impressive when you consider that there are just 48,000 firefighters in Britain. This may make them more likely to participate in internal elections than other affiliated trade unionists, just 60,000 of whom voted in the Labour leadership election in 2015. However, it is worth noting that it is statistically unlikely most firefighters are Corbynites - those that are will mostly have already joined themselves. The affiliation, while a morale boost for many in the Labour party, is unlikely to prove as significant to the direction of the party as the outcome of Unison’s general secretary election or the struggle for power at the top of Unite in 2018. 

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.