Sony's new chief Kazuo Hirai speaks during a press hearing. - Photo by AFP
Sony's new chief Kazuo Hirai speaks during a press hearing. - Photo by AFP

TOKYO: Sony said Thursday it would sell its chemical products division for about $730 million as part of a giant overhaul of the struggling Japanese consumer electronics giant.

Sony previously said the Development Bank of Japan was buying the business, which makes films used in liquid-crystal display panels and other products.

But it did not disclose the deal's price tag at the time, which it said on Thursday, was 58 billion yen ($730 million).

The sale is scheduled to be completed later this year pending regulatory approval, the firms said in a statement.

“The new company intends to rapidly introduce products that meet customers' needs by utilizing its network of manufacturing and sales bases in Japan and overseas, and increasing cost competitiveness,” the statement said.

Announcing the deal in March, Sony said its chemicals arm, which has about 3,000 employees in Japan, the United States, Europe and China, did not fit into a corporate overhaul that includes a management shakeup and the buyout of its Sony Ericsson mobile phone venture.

The Japanese entertainment giant plans to cut 10,000 jobs and spend nearly $1.0 billion on a revamp that its new chief Kazuo Hirai described as “urgent”.

The firm has vowed a return to the black after losing 456.66 billion yen in the year to March, forecasting a net profit of 30 billion yen in the current fiscal year through March 2013.

Sony has struggled with losses in its TV business as competition intensifies and profit margins shrink, while piracy threatened its music and film assets.

It was also hurt by last year's quake-tsunami disaster and a strong yen which hurts the competitiveness of Japan's exporters.

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