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Sony Fading as It Reports a Small Operating Profit in Second Quarter

November 06, 2012

Sony Fading as It Reports a Small Operating Profit in Second Quarter

By Tabitha Naylor
Contributing Writer

After a loss a year ago, Japan's Sony Corp booked a small operating profit in the second quarter. Estimated by five analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters (News - Alert) , a 1.64 billion yen loss a year ago compared with July-September operating profit of 30.3 billion yen ($379 million) was close to the average 33.8 billion yen profit.

For 58 billion yen, the company recently completed the sale of its chemical business to state-backed Development Bank of Japan. This business year, other asset sales may further inflate operating profit.

In the early 1980s, Sony blazed a trail with its Walkman portable music players, stuck to its forecast for a full-year operating profit of 130 billion yen ($1.63 billion). In August, it had reduced that from 180 billion yen. Analysts predict a full-year profit of 107 billion yen.

An annual operating loss of 67 billion yen was reported by Sony, last year. From a previous forecast of 12 million, Sony cut its forecast for full-year sales of its hand-held PSP and Vita game consoles to 10 million. It also expects to sell fewer TV sets, 14.5 million and compact digital cameras, 16 million than it previously forecast, but kept its prediction for PlayStation home console sales at 16 million.

A few days ago, a rival Japanese TV maker, Panasonic (News - Alert) Corp, stated that as it cleans its house of risky assets, it will lose almost $10 billion this business year. In its mobile and energy units, it is writing down billions of dollars of goodwill and assets and is preparing for more restructuring that is likely to see a shift away from money-losing TVs and other consumer electronics.

Early this week, wiping around $3 billion off its market value, its shares fell by a fifth. Valued at less than $12 billion, since end-June, shares in Sony have dropped around 19 percent. Furthermore, default for five years, the cost of insuring against debt has jumped by almost 60 percent.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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