Sony President and CEO Kazuo Hirai offered an upbeat assessment of the company at a shareholders’ meeting Thursday, predicting a consolidated operating profit of up to 500 billion yen ($4.54 billion) for the fiscal year ending in March 2018, the highest such figure in two decades.
Fueling the expected gain is the revival of earnings in Sony’s core electronics business, led by its game division. Investors have responded by lifting Sony’s share price by nearly 40% in the past year.
“A confident and energetic Sony has returned,” Hirai told nearly 2,000 shareholders assembled at a Tokyo hotel.
In its annual securities report, Sony also revealed that five of its executives’ compensation during the fiscal year ending in March 2017 exceeded the 100-million-yen mark ($9.07 million), compared to three executives the previous year.
They were led by former Sony Pictures Entertainment head Michael Lynton, whose compensation of 1.07 billion yen ($9.7 million) was awarded during a fiscal year in which Sony’s pictures division, which includes SPE, reported a staggering loss of 80.3 billion yen ($726 million). The loss was driven by a 112-billion-yen ($1.01 billion) writedown that the company described in January as a “non-cash loss” incurred by a host of factors both past and present, including its purchase of the studio almost 30 years ago.
Lynton, who also oversaw Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV Music Publishing, has since left Sony to become chairman of Snap, the owner of Snapchat.
His compensation topped Hirai’s own pay package, which was 514 million yen ($4.67 million).