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Sony CE Revenue, Profit Rises

1/26/2006 08:23:00 AM Eastern

Tokyo — Third quarter sales in Sony’s electronics division increased 4.7 percent, as the company enjoyed increased sales of LCD televisions, rear-projection TVs and flash-memory and hard drive-based Walkman digital audio players.

Rising sales in Sony’s electronics business sent operating income soaring in the three months, ended Dec. 31, climbing 56.2 percent to $668 million, up from a year-ago $438.8 million. The company attributed the gain to an improvement in the cost of sales ratio associated with enhanced product appeal and cost reductions, as well as favorable foreign exchange rates.

Sony’s game business notched a 48.3 percent rise in third-quarter sales, coming in at $3.6 billion, compared with a year-earlier $2.5 billion. The jump primarily was due to demand for the PlayStation portable and PlayStation2. Operating income in the game segment for the three months rose 52.1 percent, reaching $575 million, up from $387.5 million in the same quarter in 2004.

Television sales led the third quarter gain in the consumer electronics business, pulling down a 16.7 percent gain to $3 billion, from $2.7 billion in the same period a year ago. Sales of audio were flat, at $1.6 billion, in the third quarter, compared with a year ago, while video sales in the period dropped 5.4 percent, to $2.7 billion, from $2.9 billion in the third quarter of 2004.

For the nine months, all three electronics categories registered sales declines. Television dropped 3.8 percent, to $5.8 billion, from $6.1 billion; video edged downward 2 percent to $6.9 billion from $7.2 billion; and audio declined 7.3 percent to $3.7 billion from $4 billion.

Sony sales in the United States increased 14.4 percent in the third quarter, hitting $5.6 billion, up from a year-ago $5 billion. For the nine months, U.S. sales increased 4.2 percent, reaching $12.8 billion, compared with a year-on-year $12.6 billion.

Sony, which has been battling to restore profits in the face of fierce competition from lower-cost producers in Asia, reported a 10.2 percent jump in consolidated third-quarter sales, coming in at $20.1 billion, up from $18.7 billion in the same three months in 2004.

Helped by a recovery in its core CE business, Sony recorded a 46.8 percent rise in consolidated operating income, to $1.7 billion, from a year-earlier $1.2 billion. Net income climbed 17.5 percent in the third quarter, hitting $1.4 billion, up from $1.2 billion year-over-year. The company reported CE segment restructuring charges of $124 million in the third quarter, compared with $91.2 million in the same quarter the prior year.

For the nine months, consolidated sales rose 3.1 percent to $47.7 billion, from $47.5 billion the previous year, while operating income jumped 32.5 percent in the period, to $2.1 billion, from a year-ago $1.7 billion.

Sony, which has been focusing its efforts on LCD television — having said it will stop manufacturing plasma flat-screen types — said it will spend $3.6 billion in capital expenditures in the current fiscal year, ending March 31, a 15 percent increase over the previous fiscal 12 months.

The company’s nearly 50 percent operating gain, run up in the third quarter, was considered a “surprise” by industry observers. The increase, attributed to strong gains for the PSP, a weaker yen and investment returns, allowed Sony to raise its full-year outlook to a profit from a loss.