Blue Smurfs don’t keep Sony Corp. out of red ink

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Sony  Corporation

Sony Cor­po­ra­tion

Despite the pop­u­lar­ity of the partly ani­mated “The Smurfs,” Sony Corp. announced Thurs­day a record annual loss of 457 bil­lion yen ($5.7 bil­lion), mark­ing its fourth year of red ink in a row.

Although sales improved in Sony’s film busi­ness — helped by TV shows that it pro­duced and home video sales of movies — prof­its dropped a bit. The Smurfs and the live-action Bad Teacher helped neu­tral­ize the effects of the fail­ure of Arthur Christ­mas, co-produced with Aard­man Animations.

The enter­tain­ment and elec­tron­ics firm, maker of the Spider-Man movies, reported a loss of 255 bil­lion yen ($3.2 bil­lion) for the quar­ter from Jan­u­ary to March. That’s Sony’s fifth straight quar­terly net loss. The fis­cal year has been the worst in the Tokyo-based company’s 66-year history.

The most recent losses were greater than those in 1995, after Sony made a bad gam­ble by pur­chas­ing Hol­ly­wood stu­dio Colum­bia Pictures.

Wors­en­ing the pic­ture for Sony was fac­tory and sup­plier dam­age in north­east­ern Japan, were last year’s earth­quake and tsunami caused wide­spread dam­age. The flood­ing in Thai­land also caused pro­duc­tion dis­rup­tions for Sony.

Chief finan­cial offi­cer Masaru Kato believes that enter­tain­ment rev­enue will improve this year with the release of The Amaz­ing Spider-Man, Men in Black 3 and the new James Bond flick Sky­fall.

Kazuo Hirai was appointed the company’s pres­i­dent last month, when he said that Sony would cut 10,000 jobs, or about 6% of its global workforce.

Sony shares have lost about half their value over the past year. They fell 1.2% to 1,213 yen dur­ing trad­ing Thurs­day in Tokyo. Trad­ing ended shortly before the earn­ings announcement.

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