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Sony Q1 Earnings Triple as Movies Division Returns to Loss

Profits tripled in the first quarter at Japanese electronics and entertainment giant Sony. But the motion pictures division moved into loss.

In the April to June period the company enjoyed unchanged revenues of US$14.8 billion (JPY1.81 trillion) and net profits of US$676 million (JPY70.5 billion).

Sony’s “pictures” business segment which spans Sony Pictures Entertainment, TV productions and media networks, saw a 12% drop in sales to $1.41 billion (JPY171 billion) and the division move from profits of JPY 7.8 billion to losses of US$96 million (JPY 11.7 billion.)

Sony said that both theatrical and TV licensing revenues were down compared with strong quarters in the same period of last year. In April-June 2014, theatrical enjoyed theatrical revenues from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and “22 Jump Street.” TV licensing in 2014 enjoyed sales from “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs,” and “Captain Phillips.”

Across the group, Sony said that revenues were flat due to decreases in smart phone sales, and a decrease in sales of its mid-range LCD televisions. Foreign exchange gains largely offset the sales decreases, as reported in Japanese Yen. But had currencies been stable throughout the year, sales would have been down by 7%.

Operating income saw a significant rise to $794 million, albeit boosted by a change to how it accounts for Orchard Media, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of the music division. Restructuring charges were down by nearly a third to $83 million.

Games division sales were up by 12%  lifted by sales of software and peripherals for the PS4 console.  Operating income in the division leaped to $160 million.

The group left unchanged its full year guidance, which was last revised in April. For the financial year from April 2015 to March 2016 it is forecasting a 4% decrease in sales (expressed in Yen). And it reiterated its forecast of a net profit of JPY140 billion ($1.13 at current conversion rates), compared with a loss of JPY126 billion (loss of $1.02 at current rates) last year.

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