Sony back in the black as weak yen lifts profit

SONY has made a profit for the first time in five years, despite poor sales in its key consumer gadget business.

The Japanese company, famous for its PlayStation consoles, digital cameras and TVs, said yesterday it had returned to the black with an annual profit of ¥230bn (£1.5bn).

However, this clouded the company’s true performance, with the performance largely down to a weak yen and the sale of certain non-core businesses and office buildings.

Sony’s bid for revival as an electronics maker now hinges on sales of its smartphones, which it projected to rise more than a quarter to 42m in the year to next March. The company’s latest high-end smartphone has been met with enthusiastic reviews and signs of positive sales.

Its mainstay electronics business has continued to struggle however, with both its mobile and TV businesses posting losses in the last business year. Sony’s boss Kazuo Hirai, who took over from Welshman Sir Howard Stringer last year, has identified mobile products, gaming and cameras as the core of a rebound in consumer electronics after more than a decade of decline for the pioneer of MP3 players and CDs.

However, investor hopes now appear to centre on the smartphone business, although they will eagerly await the launch of Sony’s next-generation console, the PlayStation 4, which is set to be released at the end of the year.

Sony’s shares, which have been boosted by the weak yen caused by the Japanese central bank’s loose monetary policy, fell 1.36 per cent.