Sony Profit Shoots Up, Boosted by Strong Sales -- WSJ

Sales are strong for image sensors used in smartphone cameras; videogame earnings lag

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (August 2, 2017).

TOKYO -- Strong sales of image sensors for cameras in iPhones and other smartphones helped Sony Corp. post sharply higher profits in the three months through June.

Sony's operating profit in the fiscal first quarter rose to Yen158 billion ($1.43 billion), nearly triple the figure in the same quarter a year ago and the highest on record for Sony in the April-June period.

The figure was inflated by one-time factors, including income from insurance payments over earthquake damage a Sony factory in southern Japan suffered a year ago. Even without those factors, Sony said its operating profit for the quarter was on par with the previous record set in April-June 2007.

Net profit for the quarter was Yen81 billion on sales of nearly Yen1.9 trillion ($17.23 billion).

For the full fiscal year ending March 2018, analysts expect the 71-year-old electronics maker to break its operating-profit record of Yen526 billion set in the year ended March 1998.

"The first-quarter outcome is good because this figure suggests Sony could even post a full-year operating profit of more than Yen600 billion, " said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute.

Sony on Tuesday stuck to its more cautious operating-profit forecast of Yen500 billion for the full year. "It has been just three months," said Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida, citing risks such as rising component costs and unstable macroeconomic conditions.

Sony's television, smartphone and camera units look fairly stable thanks to cost-cutting efforts, despite unfavorable market conditions.

Profit at Sony's videogame unit, meanwhile, is running below year-earlier levels as its PlayStation 4, which made its debut in 2013, has aged. Sony shipped 3.3 million units of the console in the April-June quarter, down from 3.5 million a year ago despite some cuts in retail prices. Some analysts say they expect a new PlayStation will be announced next year.

Sony's image sensors, which enjoyed a good quarter thanks to demand from Apple Inc. for its iPhones, could see some risks from the Chinese market for the rest of this year. Sony's sensors tend to be used for expensive handsets, which in China have faced growing competition from affordable devices. Sony cut slightly its fiscal-year revenue forecast for the unit.

Write to Takashi Mochizuki at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 02, 2017 02:47 ET (06:47 GMT)