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Sony results boosted by flagging Yen

Games division still losing cash

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Sony has doubled its profit in Q1, thanks to a boost from overseas sales.

The firm reported net income of ¥66.5bn ($552m) for the period ending 30 June, against ¥32.2bn a year earlier. Sales revenue as a whole was up 13 per cent at ¥1.98 trillion.

The revenue figures were broadly in line with analysts' expectations, but the profit margin was almost twice as large as expected.

Analysts have warned against reading too much into the numbers, however, pointing out that the company has benefited from shifting exchange rates, which have made sales into Europe and the US more profitable.

Sony itself says the weakness of the Yen added just over ¥25bn to its accounts.

Ovum senior analyst Carl Gressum said although the electronics division, supported by strong digital camera sales, had performed well, the games division posted "rather bleak results". Sales rose more than 60 per cent (or almost 50 per cent based on local currency), but the group still returned an operating loss of ¥29.2bn.

"This is primarily a result of the strategic pricing of the PlayStation 3," Gressum says, pointing out that the firm only shifted 710,000 units of the console this quarter, an all-time low since the launch.

"However, the PS2 is still the top performer at Game. We suspect this is mostly from selling into more price sensitive markets. The PSP showed healthy improvements as well."

According to reports, chief executive officer Howard Stringer maintains that the games unit will become profitable in the next fiscal year. ®

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