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Sony Quarterly Profit More Than Triples on Camera Sensors, Video Games

Sony said Thursday its April-June net profit more than tripled as videogames and smartphone component sales got a lift, with the company emerging from a painful corporate restructuring that included layoffs and asset sales.

The Tokyo-based electronics giant logged a quarterly net profit of JPY 82.4 billion (roughly Rs. 4,248 crores), while operating profit also jumped nearly 39 percent.

But overall sales were flat, edging down 0.1 percent to JPY 1.8 trillion.

The upbeat results come after Sony lost $1.1 billion in its previous fiscal year.

Sony has ended its worst period during the past fiscal year and now is on course for a steady recovery,” said Yasuo Imanaka, analyst at Rakuten Securities in Tokyo.

“Brisk sales of image sensors and games are contributing to Sony’s profit.”

But the firm still struggled in its core electronics business with weaker demand for mid-range LCD televisions and home audio, as it shifts focus to higher-end TVs.

Sony’s devices segment logged an operating profit increase of 163.8 percent, thanks largely to strong sales of image sensors used in smartphones and digital cameras.

The videogames business, with the PlayStation 4 console at its core, was providing more reasons to cheer, logging a 350 percent jump in operating profit on the back of lower costs and strong sales of consoles and games.

“This significant increase was primarily due to PS4 hardware cost reductions,” it said.

Sony has struggled in the consumer electronics business that built its global brand, including losing billions of dollars in televisions over the past decade as it faced fierce competition from lower-cost rivals from South Korea and Taiwan.

Its chief Kazuo Hirai did move the firm out of the laptop sector and cut down its smartphone division, turning the focus to the games and entertainment business which included its Hollywood movie studio and music label.

“Sony’s position in the games market appears quite stable as its PS4 is generating profits,” said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute.

“The game business is expected to keep contributing to the company’s overall results.”

Sales of televisions dropped as the firm withdraws from mid-range models in a bid to reach consumers willing to pay for premium products.

“LCD television unit sales decreased year-on-year in all areas other than North America mainly due to a strategic decision not to pursue scale in order to improve profitability,” Sony said in a statement.

The company said it was still on track for a JPY 140 billion net profit and operating income of JPY 320 billion on sales of JPY 7.9 trillion in the fiscal year to March 2016.

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