Japan's Sony on Tuesday reported an 18.4 percent increase in first-quarter operating profit, beating market expectations thanks to a strong performance in the image sensor business. The electronics firm posted an operating profit of JPY 230.93 billion ($2.1 billion) for the April-June quarter, up from JPY 195.01 billion a year prior. That was above a consensus estimate of 173.61 billion yen from 8 analysts polled by Refinitiv. The company maintained its profit forecast for the year ending March at 810 billion yen.
Sony its earnings report also noted that it had sold 3.2 million PlayStation 4 consoles in the second quarter. Adding that to the total consoles sold at the end of Q1, 96.8 million, we see Sony has passed the 100 million console units sold milestone for the PlayStation 4.
After two years of record profits, Sony is now facing headwinds in the games business, central to the company's recent revival. The gaming business is expecting larger costs to develop a next-generation console that analysts say will come in 2020, as the five-year old PlayStation 4 nears the end of its life.
But bigger profits at the image sensor business, driven by demand for large-size image sensors and multiple-lens camera systems for smartphones, offset the weakness in the gaming business.
The semiconductor business, which includes image sensors, posted a profit of JPY 49.5 billion, up from JPY 29.1 billion a year earlier.
The gaming business posted a profit of JPY 73.8 billion, down from JPY 83.5 billion a year earlier.
For the latest quarter, sales from the company's movie division Sony Pictures Entertainment benefited from the higher theatrical revenue from Men in Black: International and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Its video game business benefited from better sales in its PlayStation 4 game console, it said.
Sony's music unit also improved from the previous year because of the absence of equity losses for EMI Music Publishing recorded the previous year and higher sales, including streaming revenue.
Gains from Spotify have lifted Sony's bottom line in recent months.
Written with agency inputs