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Sony Offers Early Retirement Plan, Engineers Excluded
Dec 5, 2005
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Consumer electronics maker Sony Corp. has started offering early retirement to workers as part of its plan to cut 10,000 positions worldwide, an company official said.

In September 2005, the Tokyo-based company said it would revive its ailing electronics operations with a range of reform steps over the next 3 years, including slashing 4,000 Japanese and 6,000 overseas positions by the end of March 2008.

Recently, Sony started offering early retirement packages to workers in noncore operations, such as human resources and accounts, according to the company official.

Managers and rank-and-file workers who have worked at least 10 years are eligible, and Sony will accept applications until Feb. 15, 2006, the official said, but declined to give a target figure for the program. Engineers are excluded from the latest voluntary retirement offer as Sony looks to maintain its research and development capabilities, she spokesperson said.

On top of trimming jobs, Sony's turnaround plan -- unveiled by CEO Howard Stringer on Oct. 22 -- calls for the closing of 11 of its 65 manufacturing plants and reducing or eliminating 15 unprofitable electronics operations by March 2008. The company has refused to say what those businesses are.

Sony's profits in the latest quarter dropped by nearly half from a year ago, as electronics sales stayed flat, its movies business stumbled and earnings suffered from a heavier tax burden and losses related to equity holdings.

The company reported group net profit of 28.5 billion yen (approx. U.S. $246 million) for the 3 months ended Sept. 30, down 46 percent comared to the same period a year ago, as healthy demand for the PlayStation Portable handheld devices were offset by shakier performance in the company's core electronics unit, hurt by falling sales of plasma TVs and digital cameras. (AP)

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