* Q3 loss 371 bln yen on weak chip, auto, TV ops
* Reiterates 700 bln yen net loss for year to March
* Shares close up 6.2 pct before results (For a related factbox, click on [ID:T327790]) (Adds background, details)
TOKYO, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Hitachi Ltd 6501.T, Japan's biggest electronics maker, posted a quarterly loss on struggling chip operations and a slump in demand for electronics products, and reaffirmed a forecast for a $7.8 billion yen annual loss -- which would be the biggest ever by a Japanese manufacturer.
The spreading global recession is choking most of Hitachi’s sprawling operations, with slumping car sales hurting its auto parts business, and its flat-TV division hit by steep price falls in a fiercely competitive market.
The biggest headache is its 55 percent-owned semiconductor affiliate Renesas Technology, which has been battered by poor demand for chips used in cars, TVs, cameras and hard drives. The rest of Renesas is owned by Mitsubishi Electric Corp 6503.T.
Hitachi has said it would exit unprofitable businesses, close plants and take other restructuring steps in a bid to cut 200 billion yen in fixed costs by March 2010. [ID:nT249327] Hitachi booked an October-December net loss of 371 billion yen ($4.13 billion) against a 12.5 billion yen profit a year earlier. The result was also dented by a firmer yen and a writedown of deferred tax assets after taxable income across the group fell.
The company reported an operating loss of 14.5 billion yen in the October-December quarter after posting a profit of 77.9 billion yen a year ago. Sales fell 16 percent to 2.3 trillion yen.
Hitachi, whose products range from rice cookers to nuclear reactors, repeated its projection for a net loss of 700 billion yen in the year to March.
The warning, made on Friday, triggered a 17 percent dive in Hitachi shares to a near 29-year low, adding to a 50 percent slide since the beginning of the business year last April. The electronics machinery subindex .IELEC.T tumbled 46 percent since April.
The stock ended up 6.2 percent before the results, against a 1.9 percent gain in the subindex. (Reporting by Sachi Izumi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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