Sony to sell Tokyo building: report

PHOTO: Sony to sell Tokyo building: report

TOKYO - Japan's Sony plans to sell one of its main buildings in Tokyo as the former electronics titan tries to raise enough cash to fund its huge restructuring, a report said Thursday.

As it looks to repair its tattered balance sheet the company is realigning its operations, including selling off its chemical division while investing 50 billion yen ($572 million) in camera and medical equipment maker Olympus.

The sale of the building, which is less than two-years old, is part of an effort to raise cash for the restructuring, the Nikkei business daily said, without putting a figure on its value.

However, based on real estate prices in Tokyo, it is expected to be more than enough to cover the cost of the Olympus investment.

The 25-storey building with two levels underground is in Tokyo's Osaki district, which accommodates Sony's television division, the Nikkei said, adding that about 5,000 people work there.

Sony is also considering selling its building in Manhattan, the paper added, underscoring the hard times at the once world-beating firm, which also saw its stock value tumble below 1,000 yen a share in June.

Shares in the company closed 3.41 per cent higher at 968 yen in Tokyo Thursday.

The maker of PlayStation game consoles and Bravia televisions lost a whopping 456.66 billion yen in its previous fiscal year, the fourth in a row, although it says it is on track to eke out a small profit in the 12 months to March.

Last year, Sony said it would cut about 10,000 jobs and spend nearly $1.0 billion on a massive corporate overhaul designed to shake up its product line and chop costs, which new chief Kazuo Hirai described as "urgent".

Japan's battered electronics sector 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.