Sony back in black on cheap yen, healthier sales

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 9, 2013 at 4:35 am •  Published: May 9, 2013

TOKYO (AP) — Sony Corp. is back in the black for its fiscal fourth quarter, recording a 93.9 billion yen ($948 million) profit, with big help from a weaker yen that boosts overseas earnings.

The Japanese electronics and entertainment company also dragged itself back to profit for the fiscal year ended March 31, following four straight years of red ink.

It reported Thursday annual earnings of 43 billion yen ($434 million), a reversal from a loss of 457 billion yen ($5.7 billion) the previous year — the worst in the company's nearly seven-decade history.

Tokyo-based Sony expects the recovery to continue, and projected a 50 billion yen ($505 million) profit for the fiscal year through March 2014, up 16 percent.

A weak yen helps Japanese exporters, and the dollar has gained 20 percent against the yen in recent months.

The favorable exchange rate is expected to continue in the coming months because of the policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took office last year.

Sony had sunk to a 255.2 billion yen loss for the January-March period in 2012, slammed by its money-losing TV business and competition from rivals Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.

Sales for the January-March period rose 8 percent to 1.7 trillion yen ($17 billion), mainly from a favorable currency rate.

Sony's annual earnings were better than its own forecast for a 40 billion yen ($404 million) profit, and that of analysts surveyed by FactSet at about 33 billion yen ($333 million).

In an effort to achieve a turnaround, Sony has been shedding jobs and selling assets and parts of businesses in recent years.

The brand has lost much of its glamour as the maker of the Walkman portable music player, a pioneering product, as well as the PlayStation video-game console, once a must-have for holiday shopping.

Chief Financial Officer Masaru Kato said that despite the return to profitability, the company's electronics sector, including camcorders and digital cameras, was struggling compared to its entertainment projects.

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