Published : 2013-01-18 17:43
Updated : 2013-01-18 17:52
Sony shares rocketed 12.20 percent Friday after the embattled Japanese consumer electronics giant said it was selling its US headquarters in Manhattan for $1.1 billion as part of a huge restructuring.
The Tokyo-listed shares finished at 1,149 yen, boosted by a weak yen and after the announcement that New York-based commercial property firm Chetrit Group was leading a consortium that agreed to buy the Madison Avenue skyscraper.
The sale, expected to close in March, comes as the firm undergoes a corporate overhaul aimed at returning to profitability after four years in the red.
In June, the company's hard times saw its stock value tumble below 1,000 yen a share for the first time since the era of the Walkman.
"Sony is undertaking a range of initiatives to strengthen its financial foundation and business competitiveness and for future growth," it said in a statement announcing the sale.
The company was "balancing cash inflows and outflows while working to improve its cash flow by carefully selecting investments, selling assets and strengthening control of working capital such as inventory", it said.
"This sale is made as a part of such initiatives."
The deal would net Sony about $770 million after paying off building-related debt and transaction costs, it said, adding that businesses including its movie and music divisions would remain in the tower for up to three years under a lease agreement with the buyer.
The 37-storey building, home to about 1,500 employees and on one of New York City's best-known thoroughfares, opened in 1984 and was sold to Sony in 2002.
Sony was "re-evaluating" its outlook -- which forecast a 20 billion yen ($223 million) annual net profit in the fiscal year ended March -- "to take into account this sale and other factors".
Toshiyuki Kanayama, market analyst at Monex, said the sale was an "obvious plus for Sony's balance sheet, but does not instantly improve its creditworthiness or investability in the eyes of investors".
The rise also came as Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index jumped nearly three percent as a weaker yen helped shares of exporters including Sony, which had climbed 5.67 percent the day before after Goldman Sachs upped its recommendation on the stock to neutral from sell.
The maker of PlayStation game consoles and Bravia televisions lost a whopping 456.66 billion yen in its last fiscal year, with its massive restructuring including selling off its chemical division while investing 50 billion yen in camera and medical equipment maker Olympus.
Last year, the firm said it would cut about 10,000 jobs and spend nearly $1.0 billion on an overhaul designed to shake up its product line and cut costs, which its chief Kazuo Hirai described as "urgent".
The sale announced Friday comes after Japanese media reported that the firm was also planning to sell one of its main buildings, in Tokyo's Osaki district, which accommodates Sony's struggling television division.
Japan's battered electronics sector including giants Sony, Panasonic and Sharp has suffered from myriad problems including a high yen, slowing demand in key export markets, fierce overseas competition and strategic mistakes that left its finances in ruins.
The industry has been awash in huge losses and credit rating downgrades, with rival Sharp saying last year it would put up real estate as collateral for bank loans -- including its Osaka headquarters -- to stay afloat. (AFP)
<관련 한글 기사>
소니 "얼마나 힘들었으면" 건물까지 팔아
실적 악화로 어려움을 겪는 일본 전자업체 소니가 18일 미국 뉴욕 맨해튼 중심부에 있는 미국 본사 빌딩을 미국 부동산회사에 매 각하기로 했다고 공식 발표했다.
매각액은 약 11억 달러(1조1천600억원)이다. 매각 절차는 3월에 완료될 전망이다.
소니는 빌딩 매각 이익 약 6억8천500만 달러를 2012 회계연도(2012년 4월∼2013년 3월) 결산에 영업이익으로 계상할 예정이다.
소니가 2002년 미국 통신업체인 AT&T에서 사들인 맨해튼 빌딩은 36층 건물로 소니뮤직엔터테인먼트 등이 사용하고 있다. 매각 후에도 소니 계열사가 임차해 사용할 계획이다.
이번 매각은 실적 부진에 따른 구조조정의 일환이다.
소니는 올해 3월 말까지 전 세계 사업장에서 직원 1만명을 줄이고 게임, 디지털 이미징, 모바일, 의료기기 등 주력 사업 이외의 업체를 매각하기로 하는 등 대대적인 구조조정에 착수했다.
지난해 9월에는 화학사업 부문을 매각했고, 도쿄 시나가와에 있는 '소니시티 오사키' 빌딩을 파는 방안을 검토하고 있다. (연합뉴스)