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Sony Raises Earnings Estimate as Restructuring Pays Off

Gains from higher-than-expected sales of camera sensors and video games.

Asa Mathat

Japanese consumer electronics firm Sony on Wednesday raised its earnings estimates for the second time in three months, citing higher-than-expected sales of camera sensors and video games.

Sony said it probably made an operating profit of 68 billion yen ($569 million) in the year ended March 31, compared with 26.5 billion yen a year earlier. That compares with its previous estimated operating profit of 20 billion yen.

The Tokyo-based firm is finally reaping the benefit of long-haul restructuring efforts after weak TV and smartphone sales brought years of heavy losses. After massive cost cuts, it has sought targeted expansion under Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai in lucrative areas such as sensors for smartphone cameras.

Sony is set to make its official earnings statement for the year on April 30. Before Wednesday’s move, following an upward revision in February, the average forecast among 19 analysts for operating profit was 50.3 billion yen.

As part of its restructuring, Sony has spun off its TV business, and also plans to split off its audio and video business as part of a new strategy to encourage greater autonomy of its subsidiaries. The company had struggled to gain market share in high-end smartphones, lagging far behind leaders Apple and Samsung.

Sony on Wednesday also narrowed its overall net loss estimate to 126 billion yen from 170 billion yen, and raised its revenue estimate to 8.2 trillion yen from 8.0 trillion yen. It also cited strength in its financial services unit.

Its shares have risen more than 30 percent so far this year on signs of progress toward a long-awaited turnaround. Year-on-year, the shares have nearly doubled, hitting 3,827.50 yen earlier this month, their highest since 2008.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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