Sony swings to $1.4 bn full-year profit as PlayStation sales soar
Tokyo (AFP) – Sony on Thursday posted a full-year profit of $1.4 billion, as strong sales of its PlayStation video games console helps the firm move past years of eye-watering losses.
The figures may be a sign that things have finally turned for Sony, which has been clawing back to profitability with a painful restructuring that included layoffs and selling off assets, including its Manhattan headquarters and laptop division.
The company, along with rivals Panasonic and Sharp, has struggled in the consumer electronics business that built its global brand, including losing billions of dollars in televisions over the past decade.
The sector has faced fierce competition from lower-cost rivals.
Struggling Sharp has been bought out by Taiwan-based Foxconn, while Panasonic has been reporting better earnings as it focuses on lesser-known divisions that make more money.
On Thursday, Sony said its net profit was 147.8 billion yen ($1.4 billion) for the fiscal year to March, reversing an eye-watering 126.0 billion yen loss a year earlier.
It was also only the second annual profit since the 2008 global financial crisis, which gave way to massive losses including a $5.7 billion bloodletting several years ago.
Operating profit for the fiscal year quadrupled to 294.2 billion yen, although sales edged down 1.3 percent from a year ago.
Sony held off giving a forecast for the current year as it “assesses” the impact of this month’s deadly quakes in southern Japan, which led to some temporary plant closures.
“The impact of the earthquakes on Sony’s consolidated results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, continues to be evaluated,” it said.
As of early January, sales of its PlayStation 4 console reached 36 million units worldwide since its launch three years ago, a company spokeswoman said.
The unit has seen the fastest and strongest adoption since the first generation of the video game console was introduced in late 1994.
Earlier this year, the company said it was moving its PlayStation business to Silicon Valley and consolidating its game console offerings under one roof.
Sony also bought Toshiba’s image sensor business which could boost its position as a global leader in the components which are found in smartphones and other mobile devices.
Sony’s businesses include a music label and Hollywood studio, while it also operates a profitable but lesser-known financial unit.