Sony Corp said on Friday it expects annual operating profit to surge 73.2 percent, closing in on a
Sony forecast profit to reach 500 billion yen ($4.50 billion) in the financial year through March 2018 from 288.7 billion yen a year prior, when earnings were roughly in line with a revised estimate announced earlier this month.
The outlook compared with the 510.58 billion yen average of 27 analyst estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.
If achieved, profit would be at its highest since peaking at 525.7 billion in the year through March 1998, when strong consumer electronics sales combined with the popularity of the first PlayStation console and box-office hit "Man in Black".
Profit is nearing that of Sony's golden era after a massive overhaul under Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai, including exiting the laptop business and downsizing television set operations.
Image sensors are now likely to be the biggest contributor to the profit growth, as operations at a factory damaged by earthquakes a year ago have returned to normal at a time when smartphone vendors are increasingly adopting dual-lens rear cameras in their handsets, requiring extra sensors.
Sony forecast its chip division, which includes image sensors, to book an operating profit of 120 billion yen, compared with the previous year's loss of 7.8 billion yen.
The firm expects profit in the gaming business - another
Sony expects its pictures segment - which it has said is in need of restructuring - to return to profit after a $1 billion