Sony sees recovery with a nearly quadrupling of profit

Sony's fiscal first quarter profit nearly quadrupled from a year earlier, boosted by its lucrative image sensor and other businesses and highlighting a gradual recovery at the Japanese electronics and entertainment company.

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Sony Corp. reported Tuesday an 80.9 billion yen ($735 million) April-June profit, up dramatically from 21.2 billion yen the same period a year ago.

Quarterly sales gained 15 percent to 1.86 trillion yen ($16.9 billion).

Sony, whose sprawling business spans finance, movies, video games and consumer electronics, is seeing better results at its various units, including games, imaging products, semiconductors and home-entertainment systems.

Sony, which makes the Spider-Man series movies and the PlayStation 4 game console, stuck to its annual forecast for a 255 billion yen ($2.3 billion) profit, up dramatically from 73 billion yen posted the previous fiscal year.

Also helping Sony's bottom line was the absence of the damage it suffered from the April 2016 earthquake in southwestern Japan that shut down its semiconductor plant, and gains from insurance recoveries related to that quake, it said.

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Sony was long an iconic Japanese brand, symbolizing the nation's spectacular rise after its defeat in World War II, but it fell behind powerful rivals like Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea and Apple of the U.S. in flat-panel TVs, smart devices and other gadgets.

The Tokyo-based company has found it hard to do well constantly in all its sectors, but it has shifted to focusing on businesses where it can turn a profit. It has been reshaping its business by focusing on high-end cameras and video games and selling assets, including its Vaio personal computer business. Its TV division lost money for years but has recently recovered.

PlayStation 4 sales and the contribution from Sony's Virtual Reality headsets have helped rebuild Sony's reputation for combining technology and entertainment prowess.

Sony's computer chip sector has also fared relatively well recently on the growth of image sensor sales for mobile products.


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