Sony posts $2 billion net loss in quarter 3 2011 - Kaz Hirai has mammoth task on hands

Sony has posted its results for the third quarter fiscal year ended 31 December 2011 and has announced some shocking figures. The consumer electronics giant has revealed an operating loss of $1.176 billion for the quarter and a net loss of $2.038 billion on revenue of $23.37 billion.

Previously, current CEO Sir Howard Stringer, who is stepping down from his position at the end of March, blamed the poor sales of Sony Ericsson mobile devices last year on "Mother Nature" and acts of god, and the Sony results statement mentions the Thai floods as an attributable factor in the company losses:

"As a result of direct damage from inundation of Sony’s Thai manufacturing facilities resulting from the floods, Sony incurred expenses of 8.9 billion yen ($114 million) during the current quarter, including charges for the disposal or impairment of fixed assets and inventories and restoration costs (e.g., repair, removal and cleaning costs) directly related to the damages caused by the disaster," it says.

However, it was the dramatic drop in sales of its consumer electronics that had the most negative impact on the company. Sales in Sony consumer products decreased 24 per cent year on year, and the organisation is expecting further losses over the next few months. That's clearly why Kazuo Hirai, the troubleshooter behind the revitalisation of the PlayStation business, will be taking on the role of president and CEO in April.

And his first plans, according to an interview with the Wall Street Journal, could make him unpopular with employees. He is expected to announce company-wide cuts:

"I thought turning around the PlayStation business was going to be the toughest challenge of my career, but I guess not," Hirai said in January.

And on the consumer electronics business? "It's one issue after another. I feel like, 'Holy s—, now what?'."

Is Sony teetering on the edge? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...