Sony to put end to four year loss as yen weakens

SONY has announced a dramatic fall in losses, and said it expects to post an annual profit for the first time since 2008 later this year.

A combination of a weak yen and cost cutting meant losses in the final three months of 2012 were down to ¥10.7bn (£72.8m), compared with ¥158.4bn in the same period last year.

Although this brought losses for the nine months of Sony’s financial year to date to ¥50.9bn, the company said it expects a profit in its final quarter to lead to an annual profit of ¥20bn. This follows four consecutive years of losses for the Japanese technology firm, which has lost sales as consumers tighten their belts, and as global sales of televisions and digital cameras have fallen.

A weak yen, which came in anticipation of the money-printing Liberal Democrat party taking power in December’s elections, has boosted troubled Japanese firms such as Sony, Sharp and Panasonic, with their products relatively cheaper for Western consumers in the run up to Christmas.

A dollar bought ¥81 during the quarter, compared with ¥76 a year previously, Sony said. The currency has continued to wane since, with a dollar now buying around ¥94.

“If this weak yen rate persists it should provide us with a big upside,” chief financial officer Masaru Kato said. Sony chief Kazuo Hirai has refocused the company on its core consumer businesses, with a new PlayStation console due this year.