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People really liked our Xperia. Throw in a weak yen and KERCHING - Sony

Japanese firm does better than expected in the June quarter

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The weak yen and strong sales of its smartphones in Japan combined to help Sony report a better-than-expected operating profit in its fiscal first quarter.

Things were looking good for the one-time electronics giant at home, where foreign exchange rates were helping its bank balances and its flagship Xperia smartphone was well-received.

The firm's mobile products and communications division saw sales rise 14 per cent in the quarter on a constant currency basis, leading to an operating income of 5.9bn instead of the loss of 28.1bn in the same quarter of the previous year.

Overall, Sony made an operating profit of 36.4bn in April to June, well over the 25.3bn expected by four analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S and six times what it made during the same time in 2012.

Sony has been so disappointing of late that activist investor Daniel Loeb has been harassing it to consider spinning off a fifth of its profitable entertainment arm, which covers movies, music and TV.

Although the higher profits this quarter are unlikely to satisfy Loeb, the Nikkei newspaper said that the board is expected to reject his proposals.

The firm's chief exec Kazuo Hirai has only said that the board will carefully consider the suggestions and hasn't given any indication of when the board might be finished discussing it. ®

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