Sony, one of the biggest image sensor manufacturers for the photographic industry, has announced its sensor plant in the earthquake-hit Kumamoto region will be ready to begin production again by the end of this month.

The company says it has been able to resume back-end processes like testing sensors and camera modules, and that assembly lines for new units should begin working again any day now. Wafer manufacture, it says, should begin on 21st May, though not all lines will start on that date. 

Damage caused by the earthquake forced the Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation to halt production at the Kumamoto Technology Center where it produces imaging sensors for digital cameras. According to a report from the Nikkei Asian Review, the damage and lost business caused by the series of earthquakes and aftershocks has cost the Japanese economy $4.6 billion. Sony itself says it is still evaluating the cost of the disaster, and it is due to publish forecast figures for the current financial year on 24 May.

For reports on Sony’s recovery process see the company’s investor relations website.

Press release:

Status of Sony Group Business Operations Affected by 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes
(Fourth Update)

The status of Sony Group business operations affected by the earthquake of April 14, 2016 and subsequent earthquakes in the Kumamoto region, as of today, is as follows:

Operations at Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation's Kumamoto Technology Center (located in Kikuchi Gun, Kumamoto Prefecture), which is the primary manufacturing site of image sensors for digital cameras and security cameras as well as micro-display devices, had been suspended due to the impact of the earthquakes. However, as of May 9, 2016, testing operations, which are one of the back-end processes carried out on the upper layer of the building, have resumed and other back-end processes, such as assembly, are also expected to restart sequentially beginning May 17, 2016.

Wafer processing operations located on the lower layer of the building are expected to restart sequentially beginning May 21, 2016.

Although there was a delay in the supply of components to Sony from certain third-party suppliers that also have manufacturing facilities in the Kumamoto region, inventory adjustments have been made and a timeframe for regaining supply levels is now in place, so no material impact is anticipated on Sony’s business operations.

Based on the above, the effect of the Kumamoto earthquakes on business operations within the Mobile Communications, Game & Network Services and Home Entertainment & Sound segments is not anticipated to have a material impact on Sony’s consolidated results.

On the other hand, regarding the Devices and Imaging Products & Solutions segments, the impact on Sony’s consolidated results due to the effect of the earthquakes, including from opportunity losses, as well as expenses for recovery and reinforcement work, continues to be evaluated. Sony is scheduled to announce on May 24, 2016 its consolidated results forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, as well as its forecasts for the Mobile Communications, Game & Network Services, Imaging Products & Solutions, Home Entertainment & Sound and Devices segments for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017.