Sony Apr.-June net profit almost quadruples on semiconductor recovery

Randall Craig
August 1, 2017

The semiconductor business was the biggest contributor to the earnings, turning from a year-earlier loss of 43.5 billion yen to a profit of 55.4 billion yen.

Operating income increased 101.4 billion yen year-on-year to 157.6 billion yen.

In their financial report for Q1 Fiscal Year 2017 (ended June 30, 2017), Sony revealed that 3.3 million PlayStation 4 consoles were shipped during the three-month period (down from 3.5 million in Q1 FY16), bringing the lifetime total to 63.3 million.

Company-wide, Sony Corp. reported net income of $722 million (809 billion yen) on sales of $16.59 billion (1.86 trillion yen).

The consumer electronics business was also profitable as it focused on high-end television sets and smartphones without seeking to increase in scale.

"Sales and operating revenue ("Sales") increased by 15.2% compared to the same quarter of the previous fiscal year ("year-on-year") to 1,858.1 billion yen".

Operating income in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year included a 20.3 billion yen impairment charge against long-lived assets resulting from the termination of development and manufacturing of certain high-functionality camera modules for external sale, as well as net charges of 13.6 billion yen in expenses resulting from the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes, both in the Semiconductors segment.

On Tuesday, Sony said operating profit rose nearly three-fold in April-June to 157.61 billion yen ($1.43 billion), exceeding the previous first-quarter record by about 30 percent, and beating analyst estimates by a similar degree. Under the new pricing structure, the cost of an annual membership will increase by a quarter from its current £39.99 level to £49.99; the cost of a quarterly membership will increase by the same proportion, going from £14.99 to £19.99, while the fee for those choosing to play monthly is to go from £5.99 to £6.99. The increase in sales on a USA dollar basis was primarily due to higher sales in Television Productions and Media Networks, partially offset by lower sales in Motion Pictures.

In gaming, the usual pillar of growth crumbled with a 59.8 percent profit drop in a quarter of few in-house blockbuster software titles and price cuts for the 4-year-old PlayStation 4, the sales of which it expects to fall 10 percent this year.

As Business Insider notes, there are several reasons why the PS4 found its way to the top and stayed there: It was the cheapest console at launch, it's a versatile machine that can do a lot more than just play games, and it has some strong exclusive titles. But Sony is playing things safe, cutting its annual image sensor sales estimates by 2.9%, saying that Chinese phone manufacturers are shifting toward cheaper components in lower-priced phones.

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