Sony reports its earnings for the fiscal quarter ended on Dec. 31, 2015. For the Device segment, "Sales decreased 12.6% year-on-year (a 16% decrease on a constant currency basis) to 249.9 billion yen (2,082 million U.S. dollars). This decrease was primarily due to a significant decrease in sales of image sensors, reflecting a decrease in demand for mobile products, and a significant decrease in battery business sales. This sales decrease was partially offset by an increase in sales of camera modules which were lower than originally forecasted and the impact of foreign exchange rates. Sales to external customers decreased 7.5% year-on-year.
Operating loss of 11.7 billion yen (97 million U.S. dollars) was recorded, compared to an operating income of 53.8 billion yen in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. This significant deterioration was primarily due to the deterioration in the operating results of the battery business, including the recording of a 30.6 billion yen (255 million U.S. dollars) impairment charge related to long-lived assets, increases in depreciation and amortization expenses as well as in research and development expenses for image sensors and camera modules, and the impact of the decrease in sales of image sensors."
Sony also revises its future sales forecast:
"Sales are expected to be lower than the October forecast primarily due to significantly lower than expected sales of image sensors and camera modules, reflecting a decrease in demand for mobile products and lower than expected sales in the battery business. The forecast for operating income is expected to be significantly lower than the October forecast primarily due to the impact of the above-mentioned decrease in sales and the recording of an impairment charge related to long-lived assets in the battery business during the current quarter.
Sony is currently formulating its business plan for all of its business segments for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017. With regard to the camera module business, there is a possibility that factors such as a decrease in projected future demand, which caused a downward revision in the forecast for the current fiscal year for the business, could continue to have a negative impact on the business going forward. It is therefore possible that the above-described business environment might result in an impairment charge against long-lived assets in the camera module business."
Update: Few more slides from the Sony earnings webcast:
The webcast gives quite many details and explanations on the image sensor and camera module business, starting from time 6:49 to 12:26. In Q&A #1, Sony says that it expects the business recovery to start in Q1 next fiscal year, beginning in April 2016.