Sony’s Positive Q1 Helped By PS4, Despite Mobile Decline

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Sony performs strongly, but its smartphone business remains a problem with sales down 16 percent

Sony has released positive first quarter 2015 financial results thanks to a strong performance in a number of its divisions.

However, some units of the electronics giant did not perform so well, most notably its smartphone and film business.

Star Performers

Sony’s turnaround has been helped by a good quarter from a number of divisions. These include its music, gaming, and sensor units, all of which performed well.

Net profit rose by a very impressive 207 percent to $676m (£433m) for the three months ending 30 June, compared to $215m (£138m) in the same year-ago period.

The painful restructuring efforts at Sony have obviously helped return the company to the black. That restructuring saw it offload its struggling PC Vaio business last year.

Revenues declined 01. percent to $14.82bn (£9.5bn) from $14.6bn (£9.4bn) a year earlier.

The strongest growth came from its growing music and gaming divisions. The Gaming and Network Service division posted an operating income up 350 percent, a significant increase “primarily due to PS4 hardware”.

The Imaging Products and Solutions division (digital cameras etc) saw 22 percent rise in operating income, “due to the improvement in digital camera product mix reflecting a shift to high value-added models.”

The Home Entertainment and Sound division (televisions etc) saw a 36.6 percent rise in operating income, but sales decreased 13.8 percent year-on-year because a decrease in sales of LCD televisions.

The Devices unit (image sensors etc) had an excellent quarter, as did the Music division. But the feature film business (Sony Pictures) did not have a good quarter because of a “decrease in theatrical and television licensing revenues.”

Smartphone Worry

But the main problem for Sony at the moment is its Mobile Communications (smartphones) business, which witnessed a 16.3 percent fall in revenues.

“This decrease was due to a significant decrease in smartphone unit sales resulting from a strategic decision not to pursue scale in order to improve profitability,” said Sony. This unit posted a net loss of $184m (£118m)

Sony Xperia Z3+Sony has previously told TechWeekEurope that it wanted to become the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. But some have questioned whether it should be competing in the cut-throat mobile business, especially as it mobile range is based on the Android OS, where Samsung and a number of Chinese manufacturers pose a significant challenge.

That said, its Xperia Z3+ smartphone and Xperia Z4 tablet have been generally well received.

Earlier this month, the company launched the Sony Smart B-Trainer wearable device, that combines wireless headphones, music player and fitness tracker all into one device, providing you with what it says is the smartest workout around.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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