Japan's Sony Corporation said today that its net earnings almost halved in the fiscal first quarter from a year earlier and issued a profit warning as business conditions worsen.

The electronics icon said it was hit by increasing price competition and losses at mobile telephone operator Sony Ericsson.

Net profits fell 47.4% to 34.98 billion yen ($326m) in the three months to June as revenue edged up 0.1% to 1.98 trillion yen, a company statement said.

It cut its forecast for net earnings for the full fiscal year to next March to 240 billion yen from a previous projection of 290 billion yen.