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Sony benefiting from restructuring, better sales

Wed, 07/28/2010 - 1:05am
TOMOKO A. HOSAKA - Associated Press Writer - Associated Press

Japanese electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp. reports earnings for April-June quarter on Thursday. The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: Sony continued to forge ahead with restructuring efforts that are starting to pay off. Once criticized for its sprawling businesses that were out of sync with each other, the company's units are now collaborating more effectively under Chief Executive Howard Stringer.

The company announced new initiatives with outside partners that reflect its efforts to connect its hardware and content businesses. In May, the company partnered with Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Logitech International to offer Internet TVs.

Results earlier this month from mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson were solid. The joint venture between LM Ericsson and Sony reported a euro12 million ($15.5 million) net profit for the quarter, up from a euro213 million loss the year before.

The Nikkei, Japan's top financial daily, says Sony probably rebounded back to profitability in the April-June quarter, thanks to cost cuts and robust demand of digital cameras and PCs from emerging countries. The company booked a net loss of 37.1 billion yen during the same period last year.

BY THE NUMBERS: Sony expects to climb back into the black in the year through March 2011. It forecasts a net profit of 50 billion yen on revenue of 7.6 trillion yen.

ANALYST TAKE: Shunsuke Tsuchiya, an analyst at Credit Suisse in Tokyo, gives Sony an "outperform" rating. Its diverse product lineup is now shifting from a weakness to a strength, he said in a recent report.

He estimates that Sony has more than 200 million of its network-enabled devices in consumers' hands, comparable to levels achieved by Apple Inc. with its iPhone and iPod.

"Sony therefore does not need to spend any further time on gaining wider diffusion of its hardware but rather can now focus on building a content platform that will be attractive to users and third-party content providers," Tsuchiya said.

WHAT'S AHEAD: The 3-D race is accelerating, and Sony is in fierce competition with rivals like Samsung Electronics Co. and Panasonic Corp. It plans to release 3-D compatible "Bravia" LCD TVs, Blu-ray disc players, personal computers and digital cameras. The company hopes that 10 percent of the 25 million TVs it aims to sell this year will be 3-D.

In September, Sony will also release its highly anticipated motion controller for its PlayStation gaming consoles.

STOCK PERFORMANCE: Sony shares tumbled 33 percent in the April-June period, compared with a 15 percent decline by the Nikkei 225 stock average. The issue rose 2.7 percent to 2,608 yen Wednesday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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