Sony Logs Record Q2 Profit on Robust Sales of Image Sensors for Smartphones

Sony on Wednesday said quarterly operating profit jumped 16 percent on robust image sensor sales, its strongest-ever result for the second quarter, and it raised its full-year earnings outlook.

Operating income for the Japanese entertainment and electronics firm came in at JPY 279 billion (GBP 2.02 billion or roughly Rs. 18,184 crores) for the July-September quarter, above the JPY 239.5 billion in the same period a year earlier.

The result beat an average estimate of JPY 235 billion (roughly Rs. 15,300 crores) drawn from nine analysts compiled by Refinitiv.

Sony raised its annual profit forecast to JPY 840 billion (roughly Rs. 54,700 crores) from an earlier estimate of JPY 810 billion (roughly Rs. 52,800 crores). That was a tad under a consensus estimate of JPY 848 billion from 23 analysts and somewhat below last year’s record profit of JPY 894 billion (roughly Rs. 58,260 crores).

Demand for smartphone image sensors has been robust, as phone manufacturers introduce multiple-lens camera systems for high-end models – a key differentiator as improvements in other phone functions and features have slowed.

Apple, for instance, added a third lens to the iPhone 11 Pro model, matching the three-camera setup on flagship models for rivals like Samsung Electronics and Huawei Technologies.

But profit at Sony’s gaming business dropped as contributions from big gaming hits last year, such as Marvel’s Spider-Man, waned and sales for its mainstay PlayStation 4 console, now six years old, fell.

Sony also faces harsher competition as Google parent Alphabet and Apple have entered the market for game streaming services. To better compete with new rivals, Sony this month slashed its annual subscription fee for the PlayStation Now cloud gaming service by 40 percent to $59.99.

Sony’s sensor division saw operating profit rise to JPY 76.4 billion from JPY 47.9 billion a year before, while profit at the gaming business fell to JPY 65.0 billion from JPY 90.6 billion.

© Thomson Reuters 2019

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