Having surprised the market with news that CEO Kazuo Hirai is to step aside at the head of the corporation, Sony on Friday unveiled strong third-quarter earnings which showed group revenue up 11% to $23.6 billion and group profits massively up at $2.63 billion. That is a more than tenfold increase.
Results for the Pictures Division, which encompasses film and TV operations, saw revenues in the three months to December increase by 35% and net income turn positive. Revenues in the three months hit JPY260 billion ($2.37 billion), and an operating loss of $977 million was replaced by an operating profit of $96 million.
For the nine months from April to December, the Pictures Division achieved sales of JPY710 billion ($6.49 billion) and operating income of JPY8.7 billion ($79 million).
According to Sony, Hirai proposed to the Sony board’s nominating committee that he step down as CEO, effective April 1, with CFO Kenichiro Yoshida to succeed him. The decision was approved by the Sony board at a meeting earlier Friday.
The news and Sony’s quarterly results pushed Sony Corp. shares up 1.9% by close of trading on the Tokyo exchange Friday, on a day when the wider Japanese stock market dipped.
Sony revised its full-year guidance upwards in terms of net profits, and kept its revenue forecast unchanged.
Its forecast for the Pictures division was unchanged. For the year to March 2018, it is forecasting a recovery from loss at the Pictures division to profit of JPY39 billion ($379 million) on revenues of JPY1.02 trillion ($9.93 billion).