Japan’s Sony Corp said yesterday its annual net profit almost tripled to hit a record high as brisk sales of digital cameras and laptop computers offset continued losses from the PlayStation 3.
The electronics icon, which is recovering from a difficult past few years, said operating profits leapt more than five-fold and were expected to rise further this year, although its bottom line is set to worsen.
The games division narrowed its losses but remained stuck in the red as the PlayStation 3 video game console faced tough competition from Nintendo’s Wii.
Net profits came to ¥369.44 billion (US$3.53 billion) in the year to March, up from ¥126.33 billion the previous year, when it was hit by the cost of recalling millions of faulty computer batteries.
Sony’s operating profit surged 421.9 percent to ¥374.48 billion, helped by property sales and the purchase of semiconductor operations by rival Toshiba.
Revenue increased by 6.9 percent to an all-time high of ¥8.87 trillion, a Sony statement said.
Under its first foreign boss Howard Stringer, Sony is seeking to shed non-core assets and revive its mainstay electronics business.
For the current year to March, Sony forecast a 21.5 percent drop in net profit to ¥290 billion, partly because of a stronger yen and reduced gains from assets sales.
But it expects operating profit to increase by 20.2 percent to ¥450 billion as revenue goes up 1.4 percent to ¥9 trillion.
Sony chief financial officer Nobuyuki Oneda said operating profit in the core electronics division was expected to decline this year because of a stronger yen, which is bad for export earnings.
But he said the game division should return to profit “thanks to a reduction in the cost of PS3 hardware and an increase in the number of software titles.”