Tokyo - Japan's Sony plans to raise nearly $4 billion via new shares and bonds to plough into image sensors as it reinvents itself as a niche component maker, pulling back from consumer goods like TVs that dragged it into losses.
In Sony's first new share issue in 26 years, the firm said on Tuesday it expects to raise 321 billion yen ($2.62 billion) from a public stock offering after a rally that has seen its market value double in a year. It will raise a further 119 billion yen from a convertible bond issue to fund a boost in sensor output capacity at its advanced plants in Japan.
Worth close to a tenth of its current market value, the share issue provides the clearest signal yet that Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai is prioritising the sensor business to anchor Sony's turnaround. The firm has long been plagued by losses in branded goods like smartphones, hit by fierce competition from both cheaper rivals in Asia and industry giants like Apple and Samsung Electronics.
The image sensors, a key high-tech component in digital cameras and smartphones, have emerged as one of Sony's strongest lines alongside its PlayStation videogames unit, helping the company recover from a long slide in TV and smartphone sales. Still, Sony is only just emerging from decline, booking a net loss of 126 billion yen in its latest fiscal year, though it expects a profit of 140 billion yen in the current year.
The move caught investors by surprise on Tuesday, with fears the new stock will dilute per-share earnings sending the stock 8.3 percent lower at the close. Yet the company's market value has climbed in step with its recent recovery progress, and has more than doubled since June 2014 to close to $35 billion.