TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp <6758.T> is confident its TV division will move into the black this financial year after a decade in the red, even if it falls short of its volume sales target, the head of the newly independent division said on Monday.
Masashi Imamura told a media round table that the TV business, which will become a separate subsidiary of Sony Corp on July 1, had reduced fixed costs during the last financial year, and profitability was now in sight.
He said Sony this year would be able to absorb the impact of any fluctuations in emerging market currencies, a factor he blamed for the unit's failure to make a profit last year.
Sony has forecast an 18.5 percent rise in TV sales to 16 million units this year from 13.5 million units a year ago, an increase that analysts said was well above the industry's average growth forecasts.
Imamura said the sales target was achievable, but added that the TV business would still turn a profit even if sales fell short of this goal.
Sony's TV division will be split off from the parent company on Tuesday, a move aimed at boosting transparency and accountability in a bid to achieve and maintain profitability.
Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai said at a corporate strategy meeting last month that the company had not ruled out an equity tie-up for the TV business, which is to be known as Sony Visual Products Inc, although nothing had been decided on the matter.
Sony's TV business has seen relatively rapid turnover at the top over the past decade with six different chiefs, although Imamura has had the longest tenure, serving since August 2011.
Sony's shares are down 8 percent so far this year, in line with the benchmark Nikkei average's <.N225> 7 percent drop. On Monday, they ended 0.2 percent higher at 1,682 yen, compared with the Nikkei's 0.4 percent rise.
Imamura's remarks came after the market closed.
(Reporting by Reiji Murai and Sophie Knight; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Miral Fahmy)