Sony executives give up bonuses

Dozens of Sony executives including the firm's chief are foregoing bonuses this year in an "unprecedented" step to atone for a slump in its embattled electronics unit, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Chief executive Kazuo Hirai is among 40 top managers who will not get a bonus estimated at several hundred million yen (several million dollars) "due to severe business circumstances, including stagnant performance in the electronics sector", the spokeswoman said.

The leading Nikkei business daily said the payout could have totalled 1.0 billion yen ($10 million).

Last year, seven top Sony executives gave up their bonuses "but the number this time is unprecedented," she added.

The decision comes as the maker of PlayStation consoles eyes a profit after four years in the red. But its troubled electronics unit may remain mired in losses despite Hirai's bid to drag it back to profitability.

Sony has launched a massive corporate overhaul that includes thousands of job cuts as it unloads a string of assets, including buildings in Manhattan and Tokyo.

Last week, Sony doubled its annual net profit forecast for the last fiscal year to March, saying it expected to earn 40 billion yen as a weaker yen and the asset sales helped boost its bottom line.

Sony lost 456.66 billion yen in the fiscal year to March 2012, its fourth year in the red.

A tumble in the value of the yen in recent months -- losing about a fifth against the dollar since November -- has helped exporters make their products move competitive.

Sony reports its full-year results on May 9.

The firm's Tokyo-listed shares, which last year fell below 1,000 yen for the first time since the era of the Walkman, closed down 1.85 percent to 1,583 yen on Wednesday.

Japan's electronics sector, including Sony rivals Panasonic and Sharp, has suffered myriad problems recently including slowing demand in key export markets, fierce competition -- especially in the struggling TV division -- and strategic mistakes.

  • How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds 16 hours ago
    How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds

    “I didn't steal your car but I think my mom may have. It's a long story. I'll explain, but your car is safe and sound," read the flier posted in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a strange tale that began when Cheyrl Thorpe was asked by her daughter Nekisia Davis to dog sit her Pomeranian at her apartment, according to New York Magazine.

  • All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground 18 hours ago
    All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground

    Much of Subaru’s modern day success in America can be attributed to one car: the Outback. Born in 1994 as a response to the growing popularity of SUVs, the Outback established a winning formula of combining a high-riding suspension, butch body cladding and big round fog lights to its comfortable, no-nonsense Legacy wagon. It is the kind of unique product that only a quirky company like Subaru could build, and was one that kept Subaru from slipping into ubiquity even as traditional SUVs and crossovers have taken over the world.

  • Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers 19 hours ago
    Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers

    For the record, it's the year 2014. I mention that in case someone reading this story about a push to replace horses with motorized carriages thinks they've stumbled onto some archival piece by accident. It's been more than 100 years since the first vehicles began to trundle around Manhattan, but the last remaining vestiges of horse-powered transport in the city could be nigh — if the backers of a massive electric wagon get their way.

  • Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers
    Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers

    Singaporeans on social media reacted angrily to news that tissue sellers at hawker centres and street corners are being required to pay for an annual licence.

  • Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry
    Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

    Heart-wrenching messages of fear, love and despair, sent by high school students from a sinking South Korean ferry, added extra emotional weight Thursday to a tragedy that has stunned the nation. Nearly 300 people -- most of them students on a high school trip to a holiday island -- are still missing after the ferry capsized and sank on Wednesday morning. Mom, I love you," student Shin Young-Jin said in a text to his mother that was widely circulated in the South Korean media.

  • ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says
    ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — The “huge” statues at a Hindu temple in Batu Caves and Buddhist temple in Penang are an affront to Islam as the religion forbids idolatry, a retired Court of Appeals judge...