TOKYO (dpa-AFX) - Sony Mobile Communications AB, a wholly-owned unit of Japanese electronics giant Sony Corp. (SNE, SON.L), announced Thursday that it plans to reduce its global headcount by nearly 15 percent or about 1000 personnel in an effort to increase operational efficiency, reduce costs and drive profitable growth. The company will also move its corporate headquarters and certain other functions from Lund, Sweden, to Tokyo, Japan this October.
Sony Mobile has filed a redundancy notification with the Swedish authorities to apprise that it expects around 650 employees across a number of functions at Sony Mobile in Lund to be affected by the job closures. The remaining headcount reductions will be mainly consultants in Sweden.
The company noted that the reduction of workforce, including consultants, will be implemented throughout fiscal years 2012 and 2013, i.e. by the end of March 2014.
Sony Mobile is changing global operational structure of its development sites in Tokyo, Japan, Lund, Sweden and Beijing, China. By leveraging the strengths of each respective site, Sony Mobile aims to enhance its operational and development capabilities and drive greater integration with the wider Sony group.
Kunimasa Suzuki, president and CEO of Sony Mobile stated, 'Sony has identified the mobile business as one of its core businesses and the Xperia smartphone portfolio continues to gain momentum with customers and consumers worldwide.'
According to the company, Lund will continue to be an important strategic site, with the main focus on software and application development.
Sony Mobile became a wholly-owned unit of Sony Corp., following Sony Corp.'s acquisition of Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson's 50 percent stake in Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, completed on February 15, 2012.
Earlier this month, Sony Corp., reported a wider net loss in its first quarter, reflecting higher restructuring charges and sharp decline in television sales amid slowing global economy, and the appreciation of yen.
Revenue increased on the consolidation of Sony Mobile Communications AB as its unit. Citing further deterioration in the economy and uncertain foreign exchange rates, the firm trimmed its forecast for fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.
At the same time, Moody's Investors Service said it has placed Sony Corp.'s ratings on review for downgrade, as the rating agency is concerned about weak consumer sentiment, especially in Europe and China, and a strong Yen that will hurt earnings and leverage of the company.
In Japan, Sony shares closed Thursday's trading at 929 yen, down 0.32 percent.
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