The following is excerpted from IRG's weekly stock report:
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• Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE) will move its Internet connection service operations to its systems integration unit but expected to have little impact on its overall earnings. The Japanese electronics maker's wholly-owned unit, Sony Broadband Solutions Corp. will take over its Internet connection service operations on Sept. 1. Sony Broadband Solutions offers system integration services to large corporations. The move is aimed at running those businesses together for efficient operations by offering integrated services to small and large customers. All 140 employees at the Internet operations will transfer to the unit. Sony has said it expects another year of losses this fiscal year through March 2010 and has been undergoing a sweeping restructuring program that included shutting down plants and layoffs.
• Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Sony introduced their own versions of motion technology meant to erode the novelty that helped Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY) expand the market and become the top-selling console with Wii. Sony’s prototype wand immerses PlayStation 3 players in a three-dimensional field and will be ready for sale by next year’s U.S. spring. Microsoft didn’t say when its technology, whose 3-D cameras do away with the need for an Xbox controller, will be available. Nintendo has outperformed its rivals, selling more than 50 million Wiis compared with more than 30 million Xbox 360s sold and 22.7 million PS3s sold.
• Konica Minolta Holdings aims to cut fixed costs by 33 billion yen (US$342.4 million) for the fiscal year through March 2010 by spending less in such areas as personnel and research and development. Konica Minolta plans to reduce costs by about 8 billion yen in its optics business, and shed more than 5,000 temporary and contract workers, mainly overseas. Four domestic factories will be subject to restructuring. The company will also reduce fixed costs by about 8 billion yen in its business technologies operations by axing more than 1,000 administrative jobs at sales companies in the U.S. and Europe. The firm plans to spend 75 billion yen (US$760 million) on R&D this fiscal year, a reduction of about 7 billion yen (US$70.9 million), and it aims to save 7 billion yen (US$70.9 million) by cutting bonuses, sales expenses and other costs.
• eAccess Ltd. (OTC:ECLTF) is expected to redeem about 20 billion yen (US$207.5 million) in convertible bonds this month, ahead of their maturity in June 2011, at the request of investors. The redemption will account for about 87 percent of the 23 billion yen (US$233 million) in convertible bonds that eAccess issued overseas in June 2004. The yen-denominated bonds have a provision giving their holders the right to seek redemption at face value two years earlier than their maturity date. To redeem the bonds, the company plans to use a portion of the 57.9 billion yen (US$587 million) in cash reserves it held as of the end of March on a parent-only basis.