LCDs, cameras allow Sony to post a better than expected quarterly result

MUMBAI: Japanese consumer electronics conglomerate Sony has reported better than expected results for the first-quarter ended 30 June 2006.

Net income was ¥32.3 billion with a loss of ¥7.3 billion a year earlier. Media reports indicate that analysts had expected the company to report lower income. Sony got a boost from sales of its Bravia brand LCD televisions and Cybershot digital cameras.

For the full year to next March, Sony revised up its operating profit forecast by 30 per cent to 130 billion yen as it started booking patent-related income as recurring revenue rather than miscellaneous income. It kept unchanged its net profit forecast of 130 billion yen.

Sales rose 11 per cent to ¥1.74 trillion from a year earlier. Operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold and administrative expenses, was ¥27 billion for the period, compared with a restated ¥6.6 billion loss a year earlier.

Profit from the electronics division, which accounts for more than 70 per cent of the company's sales, was ¥47.4 billion, from a loss of ¥26.7 billion a year earlier. Sales of electronics including Bravia TVs, Cyber-shot cameras and Vaio personal computers increased by 14 per cent to ¥1.28 trillion.

Sales of its TVs rose by 75 per cent to ¥262 billion. Sony joins rivals Sharp and Matsushita Electric Industrial in reporting higher profit because of TV sales.

It looks like Sony CEO Howard Stringer's cost cutting measures are starting to pay dividends. In September Stringer had outlined a plan to axe 10,000 jobs and shut down 11 factories. Stringer also stopped paying 44 retired executives, sold two corporate jets and some retail businesses, including a cosmetics maker and a restaurant chain.

On the film front Sony benfited from The Da Vinci Code. This helped the company increase sales by 42 per cent in the quarter. However, higher marketing costs meant that the film division suffered an overall loss.

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