Sony Corp forecast a drop in sales of cameras and game machines this
business year as its consumer gadget business struggles despite a
rebound in profit to five-year highs and a boost from the weak yen.
bid for revival as an electronics maker now hinges on sales of its
smartphones, which it projected to rise more than one-fourth to 42
million in the year to next March, as consumer spending converges on
Apple Inc's iPads and Samsung Electronics Co's Galaxy phones.
the year to next March, Sony expects an operating profit of 230 billion
yen, compared with the average 210 billion yen profit estimated by 19
analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S before Thursday's earnings
The company bounded back into the black last year
with a profit of 230.1 billion yen that was bolstered by earnings from
the sale of office buildings in Tokyo and New York, the revaluation of
stock holdings and gains from the sale of businesses including a
Its mainstay electronics business has continued to
struggle however, with both its mobile and TV businesses posting losses
in the last business year.
Sony's boss, Kazuo Hirai, in 2012
identified mobile products, gaming and digital imaging as the core of a
rebound in consumer electronics after more than a decade of decline for
the pioneer of personal music players and compact discs.
compact cameras and its PSP and PS Vita handheld game consoles suffering
under an onslaught of smartphones and tablets PCs, investor hopes for
Sony have gelled around its new Xperia Z phone, which has exceeded sales
targets since its launch in January.
Helping Hirai is a weakening
yen that in addition to bolstering overseas earnings in yen terms is
making Sony's phones and other gadgets more competitive against
offerings from foreign rivals.
With greater exposure to overseas
markets than domestic rivals Panasonic Corp and Sharp Corp, Sony is the
best-placed among the big three TV makers to gain from the weaker yen,
particularly versus the euro.
The maker of Bravia sets forecast
sales of televisions to rise to 16 million this business year with the
division seen returning to profit, after a sharp drop last year to 13.5
million. It had made 19.6 million TVs in the year to March 2012.
camera sales are forecast at 13.5 million this year, a 20 percent drop,
while its handheld game consoles, the PSP and PS Vita, are projected to
fall nearly 30 percent to 5 million.
Sony has also benefited from
steady earnings from music, movies and its insurance subsidiary that
are in stark contrast to the prolonged doldrums in its hardware
Since the start of the year Sony's shares have gained 82
percent compared with a 37 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei 225.
Its shares fell 1.4 percent on Thursday to close at 1,744 yen before it
released its latest forecast.
© Thomson Reuters 2013