July-September operating profit of 30.3 billion yen compared with a 1.64 billion yen loss a year ago, and was close to the average 33.8 billion yen profit estimated by five analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company recently completed the sale of its chemical business to state-backed Development Bank of Japan for 58 billion yen. Other asset sales may further inflate operating profit this business year.
Sony, which blazed a trail in the early 1980s with its Walkman portable music players, stuck to its forecast for a full-year operating profit of 130 billion yen. It had reduced that in August from 180 billion yen. Analysts predict a full-year profit of 107 billion yen. Last year, Sony reported an annual operating loss of 67 billion yen.
Sony cut its forecast for full-year sales of its hand-held PSP and Vita game consoles to 10 million from a previous forecast of 12 million. It also expects to sell fewer TV sets 14.5 million and compact digital cameras 16 million than it previously forecast, but kept its prediction for PlayStation home console sales at 16 million.
Panasonic Corp, a rival Japanese TV maker, said on Wednesday it will lose almost $10 billion this business year as it cleans its house of risky assets writing down billions of dollars of goodwill and assets in its mobile and energy units and preparing for more restructuring that is likely to see it shift away from money-losing TVs and other consumer electronics. Its shares fell by a fifth on Thursday, wiping around $3 billion off its market value.
Shares in Sony, valued at less than $12 billion, have dropped around 19 percent since end-June and the cost of insuring against debt default for five years has jumped by almost 60 percent.
© Thomson Reuters 2012