• The Associated Press


Sony’s quarterly earnings surged more than sevenfold, boosted by blockbuster movie releases, cost cuts and its mainstay consumer electronics business returning to the black.

The manufacturing icon, known for gadgets like its PlayStation 3 game console, said Thursday its net profit for the October-December quarter jumped to ¥79.2 billion from ¥10.4 billion a year earlier.

Sales rose 4 percent to ¥2.24 trillion on robust revenue from movies, personal computers and financial services.

Sony said it benefited from strong worldwide theater releases such as “2012” and “Michael Jackson’s This is It,” as well as home DVD sales of titles like “Angels & Demons.”

Since taking over in 2005, Chief Executive Howard Stringer has been trying to unite the company’s sprawling business, improve efficiency and rein in costs.

The company credited the ongoing restructuring and better currency exchange rates for driving its consumer products and devices division into the black.

Sony swung to an operating profit, which is generally seen as the best indication of a company’s pure business performance, of ¥146.1 billion. The company booked an operating loss of ¥18 billion a year earlier.

The company’s PC business also did well, in large part due to higher sales of Vaio computers.

Overall demand for gaming consoles declined mainly due to lower sales of the PlayStation 2 and PSP portable device. But PlayStation 3 sales jumped more than 40 percent to 6.5 million units during the quarter, Sony said.

Sales of the PlayStation 3 surged to a U.S. record in December after a 25 percent price cut ahead of the key holiday shopping season. Until the cut, the console lagged behind its rivals in large part because it carried a bigger price tag.

Sony trimmed its forecast of losses for the fiscal year ending March 31.

It now expects a net loss of ¥70 billion, a 22 percent improvement from its previous loss forecast of ¥95 billion.

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