Sony Quarterly Results Improve Despite Lower Film Profit

Sony Logo - H 2012

Sony Logo - H 2012

The entertainment and electronics giant reported a higher music operating profit, while its film profit was down after a one-time item had boosted the year-ago figure.

Sony Corp. on Thursday reported a narrowed loss for its fiscal second quarter and swung to a profit on an operating basis as its revenue rose slightly.

But the loss was the seventh quarterly loss in a row and came even though analysts had on average predicted a slight profit. The conglomerate's film unit posted weaker financials for the latest period after a one-time item had boosted the year-ago results.

The entertainment and consumer electronics giant posted a loss of $198 million (15.5 billion yen), about half of the year-ago loss of 27.0 billion yen.

Its operating profit amounted to $379 million (30.30 billion yen), compared with a loss of 1.64 billion yen in the year-ago period. Sony said its quarterly revenue rose 1.9 percent to $20.6 billion (1.6 trillion yen), or 3 percent on a constant currency basis.

?Sony maintained its full-year operating profit forecast at 130 billion yen ($1.62 billion), but reduced its revenue forecast.

Sony's film unit recorded lower results for the latest quarter. Revenue declined 3.7 percent, or 6 percent on a constant currency basis, to $2.1 billion. The movie unit's operating profit of $101 million was down 61.8 percent

"The decrease in revenues in the current quarter was primarily due to the sale of a participation interest in Spider-Man merchandising rights in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year, partially offset by higher theatrical revenues for the current year’s release slate which benefitted from the strong performance of The Amazing Spider-Man," the company said. "Television revenues were essentially flat year-on-year as higher U.S. television network programming revenues were offset by lower U.S. made-for-cable programming revenues."

For its music operation, Sony posted a 4.3 percent decline in revenue, or 6 percent on a constant currency basis, but a 24.1 percent operating profit increase.

The company cited "significantly lower restructuring charges and improvement in the performance of the recorded music business in the U.S. and Europe," which was partially offset by a benefit from the recognition of digital license revenue in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year and the "continued worldwide contraction of the physical music market.

Best-selling titles during the quarter included P!nk’s "The Truth About Love" and Michael Jackson's "Bad - 25th Anniversary."

Video game unit revenue fell 15.8 percent, or 14 percent when assuming constant currencies, with operating profit down 23.8 percent. Lower PlayStation 3 and PSP software and hardware sales were partially offset by contributions from the PlayStation Vita launched in December.


Twitter: @georgszalai