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Sony enjoys profit surge as sales jump

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Sony’s fiscal first-quarter profit has nearly quadrupled from a year earlier, boosted by its lucrative image sensor division and other businesses.

The figures highlight a gradual recovery at the Japanese electronics and entertainment company.

Sony reported an 80.9 billion yen April-June profit, up dramatically from 21.2 billion yen in the same period a year ago.

Quarterly sales gained 15% to 1.86 trillion yen.

Sony, whose sprawling business spans finance, films, video games and consumer electronics, is seeing better results at its various units, including games, imaging products, semiconductors and home entertainment systems.

Sony, which makes the Spider-Man films and the PlayStation 4 games console, stuck to its annual forecast for a 255bn yen profit, up dramatically from 73 billion yen posted the previous fiscal year.

Also helping Sony’s bottom line was the absence of the damage it suffered from the April 2016 earthquake in south-western Japan that shut down its semiconductor plant, and gains from insurance recoveries related to that quake, it said.

Sony long symbolised Japan’s spectacular rise after its defeat in the Second World War, but it fell behind powerful rivals such as Samsung, of South Korea, and Apple, of the US, in flat-panel TVs, smart devices and other gadgets.

The Tokyo-based company has found it hard to do well constantly in all its sectors, but it has shifted to focusing on businesses where it can turn a profit.

It has been reshaping its business by focusing on high-end cameras and video games and selling assets, including its Vaio personal computer business.

Its TV division lost money for years but has recently recovered.

PlayStation 4 sales and the contribution from Sony’s virtual reality headsets have helped rebuild its reputation for combining technology and entertainment prowess.

Sony’s computer chip sector has also fared relatively well recently on the growth of image sensor sales for mobile products.

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