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Sony more than doubles net loss forecast for March to US$6.4 bil.

TOKYO -- Japan's Sony on Tuesday said it would book a net loss of about US$6.4 billion in the year to March, more than double its previous forecast amid sweeping changes at the struggling electronics giant.

The company said it would lose 520 billion yen (US$6.4 billion) after earlier saying it would see a shortfall of about 220 billion yen, its fourth consecutive year in the red.

Sony's earlier net loss forecast was itself more than twice as much as the 90 billion yen loss it had predicted it would lose before upping the figure in February.

The company said the latest increase in its loss forecast was mainly due to a tax charge tied to its assets in the United States, but it did not elaborate.

“In the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, we will book an additional tax cost of about 300 billion yen ... for a deferred income tax asset in the United States,” Sony said in a statement.

Sony kept its sales forecast and operating loss outlook unchanged at 6.4 trillion yen and 95 billion yen respectively.

The announcement came just days before Sony's new chief executive is expected to outline some of the changes seen as necessary to turn around the iconic firm.

Earlier this year, Sony shed its Welsh-born U.S. Chief Executive Howard Stringer who was replaced by his protege Kazuo Hirai as the firm faced continuing losses at its struggling television unit.

On Monday, a report in the leading Nikkei business daily said Sony would chop 10,000 jobs worldwide (about 6 percent of its workforce) this year as it attempts to carry out sweeping reforms.

About half the planned job cuts are part of a restructuring of Sony's chemical unit as well as operations tied to its small- and medium-sized liquid crystal display panels, the Nikkei said.

The company's top seven executives, including its outgoing chief, would also give up their annual bonus, it said.

Sony declined to comment on the report, which did not give further details of the reductions from Sony's headcount which stood at about 168,000 employees as of March last year.

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