Sony '07 net income up 192%

But Sony Pictures sales fall 11%

TOKYO -- Sony beat analysts' expectations for its annual net income Wednesday, posting a rise of 192.5% to $3.7 billion for fiscal 2007, with mixed results across its divisions offset by a series of one-off gains.

Sony announced sales were up 6.9% to $88.7 billion group-wide though they fell at Sony Pictures while rising at the gaming division.

Fewer big theatrical titles in 2007 saw sales at Sony Pictures fall 11.2% to $8.58 billion though income from home entertainments and TV was boosted by sales of titles from the previous year. "Spider-Man 3" and "Superbad" contributed to both theatrical and home entertainment sales.

Despite falling sales, operating income from Sony Pictures increased 25%, helped by the sale of a bankruptcy claim against KirchMedia.

Reduced production costs for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) helped to narrow losses in the gaming division from $2.32 billion to $1.25 billion, which saw sales up 26.3% to $12.84 billion.

The PS3 sold 9.24 million units worldwide, an increase of 5.63 million -- but was still outsold by the PS2 with 13.73 million. The PlayStation Portable (PSP) sold 13.89 million units, up 4.36 million from fiscal 2006.

Sony BMG saw sales down 4% as increased digital sales failed to offset the decline in the CD market. However, reduced restructuring costs and lower marketing overheads saw operating income almost double to $257 million.

Biggest selling albums were all from solo female artists: Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion and Leona Lewis.

"It's true that despite the success of Blu-ray, the company is still not making money on players yet, though we expect to go into the black on them by the 2nd half of this year," Nobuyuki Oneda, Executive VP and CFO, told the press during a Q&A after the results announcement.
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