Business

Net profit at Sony surged 20-fold in first quarter

Sony Corp. said Wednesday its net profit for the April-June period posted a 20-fold jump to 23.26 billion yen, helped by the firm’s mobile phone handset venture with Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB.

A stronger yen, however, hurt the consumer electronics giant. Compared with the same period last year, its operating profit fell 41 percent to 9.77 billion yen, while revenue remained almost flat at 1.61 trillion yen.

Excluding currency fluctuations, operating profit grew 27 percent and revenue rose 5 percent, the company said.

Its main electronics division saw strong sales of flat-panel TVs, digital still cameras and liquid crystal display rear projection TVs. Sales grew in Europe, China and other Asian markets.

But the division’s operating profit dropped by half due to restructuring charges and a stronger yen, which hit overseas earnings.

The company’s game business posted an operating loss during the quarter, with sales of the PlayStation 2 game console falling sharply.

The movie division returned to the black, thanks to brisk sales of DVD and VHS titles, including “50 First Dates” and “Big Fish.” The box office blockbuster “Spider-Man 2” was released on June 30, and its sales performance will be reflected in earnings for the current quarter.

The music division narrowed its operating loss.

In December, Sony announced a planned merger of its music unit with BMG, the music unit of Bertelsmann AG.

European authorities recently approved what is hoped to become Sony BMG, and the firms are now waiting for approval from the U.S. regulator.

A bulk of the net profit gain during the period came from Sony’s joint ventures.

Sony Ericsson returned to profitability during the quarter amid strong demand for camera-equipped cell phone handsets. During the period, volume sales of its handsets grew 55 percent to 10.4 million units.

For the full year to March 2005, Sony kept intact a forecast made at the beginning of the current fiscal year, with net profit of 100 billion yen on revenue of 7.55 trillion yen.

Coronavirus banner