Sony Corp posted surprise second-quarter profits today, despite warning of big year-end losses. Net income for the three months ending June was $260.82 million, compared to $30.1 million for the same quarter last year. A Bloomberg report had previously predicted a loss of $112 million.
Interest in World Cup 2014 titles helped Sony’s TV business recover capital, while other releases such as American Football favorite Madden NFL 15 are capitalizing on the success of its PlayStation 4 console. Overall the games console division experienced an upsurge in sales.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and 22 Jump Street have also helped Sony’s entertainment wing. The latter has only this week been released in key markets including Germany, France, Spain and all of Latin America. Recording artist successes, such as soul singer John Legend, have also boosted profits. The group oversees a total $4.7 billion in assets.
However, Sony still expects to post a loss of around $486 million for the year ending March 2015, which would be its second straight year in the red. Today’s shock results come amid a period of restructuring at the firm spearheaded by president and CEO Kazuo Hirai.
The company sold its floundering eight-year-old PC business, Vaio, to investment fund Japan Industrial Partners. Its television division was also made a separate subsidiary. An estimated 5,000 jobs were cut in the process and the company has already cut around 18,000 jobs in the past two years.
Sony’s smartphone business has also struggled to compete in an already-saturated market. Today the Japanese firm cut its smartphone sales target by 14%, with chief financial officer Kenichiro Yoshida detruding forecasts to break-even, from an initial operating profit outlook of $252 million.
“We are also discussing whether to change the number of phones in our line-up and adjust their lifecycle,” Yoshida said today at a news conference.
Across the board Sony is working to restructure and reduce annual operating costs by $972 million. This week it sold the land its Tokyo headquarters stands on to subsidiary Sony Life Insurance, allowing the firm quick cash with which it could, according to the Wall Street Journal, bolster an early retirement program. It is also in talks with unions to end basing workers’ salaries on years employed.
Sony’s financial-services business continues to be its biggest profit generator, posting a profit of $426 million.
The firm has announced that it is founding a new company in OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display technology alongside compatriot Panasonic, to rival Samsung and other big competitors. The new company will be launched in January, combining the research and development of both brands.
Hirai, 53, who assumed the role in April 2012, has declared his intentions to revive Sony’s fortunes via products that have made it one of Japan’s most famous companies, such as personal audio and TVs.
This month Sony delisted itself from the London Stock Exchange after 44 years. “The trading volume of Sony’s shares on the London Stock Exchange has been extremely low. Sony believes that this delisting would cause no substantial inconvenience to Sony’s shareholders and investors,” the company announced. Its shares will continue to be listed in Tokyo and New York, and was up 4.85% to $18.38 at 13:30pm in New York on Thursday.