Sony Posts Weaker Quarterly Results, Film Unit Loss

White House Down's poor performance contributed to losses at Sony Pictures
White House Down's poor performance contributed to losses at Sony Pictures
 Columbia Pictures

TOKYO – Sony Corp. on Thursday posted a loss and lower operating income for its latest quarter amid continuing challenges in its electronics business and a swing of its film division to a loss.

Based on the results, Sony, led by CEO Kazuo Hirai, cut its earnings forecast for the full fiscal year by 40 percent to $305 million, but reiterated that it expected its electronics division to be profitable for the year.

The company's quarterly loss of $115 million widened from the year-ago period and surprised analysts who had predicted a profit in the latest period. Its operating income of $151 million (14.8 billion yen) for the July-September period, which was the conglomerate's fiscal second quarter, was down 51.2 percent compared to the same period last year. Revenue rose 10.6 percent amid demand for smartphones and a weaker yen, but dropped 9 percent when assuming constant currencies.

Sony Pictures posted an operating loss of $17.8 million, compared to a profit of $7.9 million in the fiscal second quarter of 2012 amid a 13 percent decline in revenue from theatrical releases, television licensing and home entertainment. Sony cited the theatrical underperformance of White House Down as one contributor to the lower constant currency  figures. Revenue increased 9 percent when including currency fluctuations because of the weakening of the yen. The weaker yen against the greenback, and particularly the euro, help Sony across most of its business division.       

"The current quarter reflects the theatrical underperformance of White House Down, while the previous fiscal year included the strong theatrical performance of the Amazing Spider-Man," Sony said.

Sales at the music division rose 15.9 percent to $1.17 billion (115 billion yen), while operating income grew 23.5 percent to $99 million (9.7 billion yen), helped by strong sales of such releases as "The 20/20 Experience" from Justin Timberlake and "Bangerz" by Miley Cyrus.

The video games division saw a loss of $8 million (800 million yen), compared to a small profit in the same quarter last year due to a price cut for the PlayStation Vita portable, as well as lower sales for the PlayStation 3. As in the music division, games saw an increase in sales in yen terms despite a fall in actual sales.  

Sony's stock closed down at 1,877 ($19) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Thursday as the main Nikkei 225 index fell 1.1 percent. 

Twitter: @GavinJBlair

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