TOKYO , Feb. 6 -- ( Kyodo ) _ (EDS: ADDING DETAILS) Sony Corp. said Thursday it is expecting a group net loss of 110 billion yen for the year through March, against an earlier projected profit of 30 billion yen , due to disposal costs for its personal computer business and sluggish television sales. In stepped-up restructuring efforts, the electronics maker announced the sale of its Vaio computer business to Tokyo -based investment fund Japan Industrial Partners Inc. and a spinoff of its television business into a wholly owned unit from July. The company now projects a full-year operating profit of 80 billion yen , against 170 billion yen in profit forecast in October, on unchanged sales of 7.7 trillion yen . The full-year profit estimate was also dented as the company revised downward its annual sales target of smartphones by 2 million units to 40 million, on the back of weaker-than-expected demand in China and some countries in Europe . By drastically reforming its television and personal computer businesses, Sony said it plans to slash around 5,000 jobs both at home and abroad by March 2015 and expects additional restructuring costs of about 20 billion yen in fiscal 2013 and 70 billion yen in fiscal 2014. As a result of the restructuring, Sony expects its fixed costs to be cut by more than 100 billion yen a year after fiscal 2015. Sony's struggle to turn its earnings around comes amid growing signs of recovery at some of its domestic rivals like Sharp Corp. and Panasonic Corp. , which achieved a return to profitability in the April to December period for the first time in three years and are expecting full-year profits. Sony President Kazuo Hirai told a press conference in Tokyo , "The environment surrounding the electronics business is likely to remain severe and it would be difficult to reach our original target to return the personal computer and television businesses to profitability" in the current year to March. He said the company will end product development and design of personal computers after 2014 spring models to focus more on smartphones and tablet computers. The Vaio brand will be maintained under a new company, of which Sony will initially own a 5 percent stake. By utilizing an existing base in Nagano Prefecture , the new business is expected to start operating with a workforce of about 250 or 300. On its television business, which is likely to incur a loss for the 10th consecutive year, Hirai said he "sees a trajectory toward its revitalization," with losses in the area having shrunk to around a sixth of the level two years earlier. He added that the company will further improve its television business by the spinoff and by putting focus on high-value added products such as televisions with "4K" imaging technology that displays images at four times the resolution of conventional high definition. Hirai denied the possibility of selling off the television business at the moment. In the April-December period, the company returned to the black with a group net profit of 11.17 billion yen , against a loss of 50.87 billion yen a year earlier, due to brisk sales of its PlayStation 4 home gaming console and smartphones. Its operating profit grew 70.5 percent from a year earlier to 141.45 billion yen on sales of 5.9 trillion yen , up 16.4 percent. In January, Moody's Japan K.K . downgraded the credit rating of Sony to junk status of Ba1 from Baa3, citing dismal television and personal computer business outlooks.
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