Pony Canyon ankles 5 markets

Subsids shuttered as sales prospects sink

TOKYO — Japanese media company Pony Canyon will liquidate subsidiaries in five Asian economies by the end of the month because of bleak sales prospects in the financially troubled region, company officials said Thursday.

The subsids are located in Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, and shuttering them will greatly reduce Pony Canyon’s presence in the region.

The timing of the liquidation will put the losses on the books for fiscal 1997, which ends March 31. The company expects a 3.1 billion yen ($24 million) loss from the liquidation. But Pony Canyon’s parent company, Nippon Broadcasting, is able to offset the loss because of windfall profits through sales of Fuji Television shares. All the companies are part of Japan’s largest media conglomerate, the Fuji Sankei Communications Group.

Pony Canyon officials said the Asian currency crisis is not a major factor behind their decision.

The company entered Southeast Asia about eight years ago with the aim of promoting Japanese artists in the region and importing local acts into Japan. It later tried to develop and market local talent.

Among the bright spots for the label was the success of the Japanese pop act Chage & Aska, which racked up record sales of about 400,000 units and sold out major concert venues.

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