Sony's April-June profit climbs, topping estimates

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Sony on Thursday reported a 39 percent rise in quarterly profit on strong sales of camera sensors and PlayStation 4 videogames, beating analyst estimates and helping to reassure investors a recent stock offering would pay off.

April-June operating profit rose to 96.9 billion yen ($780.8 million), compared with the 73.3 billion average estimate of 18 analysts polled by Reuters.

The result comes after Sony last month announced its first capital raising in a quarter of a century. Sony has said it would use the funds to boost production of image sensors, which are now among Sony's strongest-selling products.

Introducing Sony's Project Morpheus
Introducing Sony's Project Morpheus

Sony shares fell more than 8 percent on the day of the announcement due to fears of stock dilution, although they have since recouped much of those losses and are double their year-earlier price.

Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai is banking on image sensors to anchor Sony's turnaround, while pulling back from weak-selling goods such as smartphones and TVs which suffer competition from both cheaper rivals in Asia and industry giants like Apple and Samsung.

Sony said first-quarter operating income at its devices business, which includes image sensors, rose 164 percent from a year earlier to 30.3 billion yen, helped by growing demand from smartphone makers.

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Its gaming business' quarterly operating income rose 351 percent to 19.5 billion yen on stronger sales of PlayStation 4 software as well as insurance recoveries on previously incurred losses related to a cyber attack on Sony's network services.

Its mobile division reported a 22.9 billion yen quarterly loss, and now expects a full-year operating loss of 60 billion yen, worse than the 39 billion yen loss it expected in April.

The more bullish outlook for gaming and sensors helped Sony maintain its full-year forecast, and it reiterated its view for operating profit to more than quadruple in the current year through March to 320 billion yen.

Shares of Sony closed 2.1 percent lower ahead of the earnings release, compared with a 1.1 percent rise in the broader market.