Electronics and entertainment giant Sony is warning this year's Christmas will be lacking in financial cheer. Price wars in the flat screen TV market, falling demand for audio products and high development costs have led the corporation's president, Kunitake Ando, to announce: "Our home products business is not in a situation where profit will grow by much from the year-ago period."

Operating profits in the electronics business for the 2003 holiday period were 49.5bn yen ($449m, €367m, £250m).

Shares in Sony fell 80 yen or 2.1 percent to 3,760 yen in Asian trade on this latest news.

The world's second largest consumer electronics maker is facing competition from Matsushita on flat screen TVs and from Apple's i-pod in the audio field.

In response to the sluggish climate, Sony announced earlier this week its intention to buy the US' last major independent film studio, Metro Goldwyn Meyer, in an estimated $5bn deal [WAMN: 14-Sept-04].

The studio's back catalogue of movies, a large potential profit centre for the new owners, includes the James Bond, Rocky and Pink Panther titles.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff