Sony-Ericsson Lands Smartphone Financing - InformationWeek

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Sony-Ericsson Lands Smartphone Financing

A $676 million financing deal, announced after a string of quarterly losses, will help promote its Satio and Aino phones.

After five consecutive unprofitable quarters mobile phone provider Sony-Ericsson finally delivered some good news Friday: the company reported it has secured $676 million in financing to fuel a new round of advanced camera phones. The company, however, also reported a third quarter loss of $245 million.

The joint venture between L. M. Ericsson Telephone Co. and Sony Corp. has been hit by a one-two punch of the worldwide economic slowdown and slow sales of mid-range phones, which have been the firm's sweet spot. While Sony-Ericsson had predicted that worldwide sales of all mobile phones would likely to decline 10% in 2009, it said the decline appears to be slowing.

The new financing will enable the company to put some additional marketing thrust behind its new camera phones, the Satio and Aino, as well as its gaming-oriented phone, the Yari. The Satio has a 12.1-megapixel autofocus camera with 12 times digital zoom and Xenon flash, making it a pacer in the mobile phone-cum-camera category.

The Aino is packed with advanced features including video recording capability, Wi-Fi support, and a 3-inch touchscreen.

The company clearly turned to Sony to develop much of its consumer features. "Our business in the third quarter started to show the effects of our ongoing transformation program," said Dick Komiyama, outgoing president of Sony-Ericsson, in a statement."Having refreshed our brand we are now better positioned to support the launch of new products such as Aino and Satio in Q4 2009. We have cleared channel inventories, and have continued to realign internal resources and improve efficiency."

In keeping with the company's revolving management structure, Sony's Komiyama left his position Thursday and Ericsson's Bert Nordberg took over the president's post. At the same time, Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO, and President of Sony Corporation and a member of the Sony Ericsson board, became Chairman of the Sony Ericsson board.

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