Tokyo - Although Sony reported increases in sales of personal computers, projection televisions, digital still cameras and set-top boxes during its fiscal third quarter, overall sales in the company's Electronics segment dipped 2.8 percent, to $11.7 billion, compared with $11.9 billion in the year-ago three months.
Operating income in Sony's Electronics segment, however, plunged 47 percent, to $535 million, down from $992 million in the same quarter in 2000. The company blamed its significant deterioration in profit performance in the segment on decreasing demand for semiconductors and PC peripherals for its OEM business as well as intense price competition.
Video remained Sony's largest CE product category during the third quarter, ended Dec. 31, with sales of $1.9 billion, up 6.8 percent from the $1.7 billion recorded in the year-ago third quarter. Audio reported a 3.3 percent increase for the three months, reaching $1.8 billion, compared with $1.7 billion the previous year. Televisions enjoyed a 15.2 percent increase in the third quarter, hitting nearly $1.95 billion, up from $1.66 billion in the same three months in 2000.
Profit was recorded by Sony in the third quarter for televisions, video cameras, portable audio, digital still cameras and PCs, compared with the third quarter the previous year.
For the nine months, sales in the Electronics segment were flat at $30.1 billion, while operating income dove 82.5 percent to $340 million, down from $1.9 billion in the same period in 2000.
The video product category over the nine months reported a 4.3 percent sales increase, reaching $4.9 billion, up from $4.6 billion in the same period in 2000. Audio sales climbed 4.2 percent in the nine months, hitting $4.6 billion, compared with $4.3 billion in the first nine months of 2000. Sales of televisions moved up 3.2 percent in the nine months, coming in at $4.2 billion, up from $4 billion in the same time frame in 2000.
Significant increases in demand for PlayStation2 hardware and software during this past holiday season drove Sony's Game segment to a 62.9 percent increase in sales for the third quarter, reaching $2.9 billion, compared with $1.8 billion in the year-ago three months.
Operating income for the segment over the three months reached $503 million, compared with a loss of $103.8 million in the same quarter in 2000, due mainly to cost reductions. The company said sales significantly increased in the segment in the United States during the third quarter, due mainly to sales increases of PlayStation2 hardware and software.
Worldwide shipment of PlayStation2 totaled 5.4 million units in the third quarter, nearly doubling the 2.9 million shipped in the same quarter in 2000.
For the nine months, sales in the Game segment soared 66.3 percent, to $5.9 billion, up from $3.5 billion the previous year, while operating income reached $510 million, compared with a loss of $259.4 billion in the same three months in 2000.
Overall net income at Sony fell 14.4 percent in the third quarter, to $485 million, on sales of $17.3 billion, up 7.4 percent from the year-ago three months.
Looking ahead, Sony expects a 3 percent increase in sales for the fiscal year ended March 31, reaching $56.2 billion. However, it anticipates operating income for the year will nose dive 42 percent to $968 million and net income will drop 40 percent to $74 million.
Sony said it is cutting capital expenditures for the year by 25 percent, to $2.6 billion.