Sony Returns to Profitability in 2013, Looks Ahead to PS4, TV Recovery
May 9, 2013 2:55 PM
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(Source: AP/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Troubled 2011 is behind it, but much work remains
Sony Corp. (
), one of Japan's largest companies, in its fiscal 2013 reversed its money bleed from the prior year, despite some of its units struggling. Compared to a disastrous 2011 (fiscal 2012) that saw Sony hacked
by LulzSec, losing millions of customer records and bleeding ~$4.6B USD (¥456.7B) in cash, the fiscal year that ended in April was relatively temperate.
I. Smartphones and Gaming Should Sail Strong in 2013
In 2013 Sony
performed well, nearly doubling in sales to 33 million smartphones. That number pales in comparison with Apple, Inc.'s (
) 130 million iPhones or Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (
) roughly 206 million smartphones sold last year.
Neil Mawston, executive director at market researcher Strategy Analytics comments, "The Xperia range is selling well where available, but Sony's limited retail presence in major markets like the U.S. and China is restricting its growth. Sony captured less than 1 percent of the valuable U.S. market in 2012."
But Sony is emerging as a power player with revenue roughly doubling from $6.27B USD (¥622.7B) in 2012 to $12.66B USD (¥1257.6B) in fiscal 2013. The company did take a hit $1.034B USD (¥97.2B) due to its acquisition of Sony Mobile. Sony forecasts that for the rest of this year (fiscal 2014) it will sell 42 million smartphones, a 27 percent rise. That would amount to around a 4 percent share of the predicted global smartphone market.
The gaming business, anchored by the Sony PlayStation Pocket (PSP) Vita and PS3 suffered, falling 12.2 percent in revenue to $7.52B USD (¥707.1B). The drop was due to a drop in sales of the gaming consoles -- Sony sold a mere 16.5 million PS3s/PS2s and 7.0 million PSP Vitas globally. Sony predicts an even steeper plunge next year to 10.0 million PS3s/PS2s and 5.0 million PSP Vitas.
However, its forecast did not include
, which launches this holiday season, so there's still hope for Sony's fiscal 2014 gaming-wise. And Sony is predicting game sales to soar from 266 million units this year to 319 million units in fiscal 2014.
II. Digital Cameras, TVs Have Mixed Outlook
Digital cameras continue their ride out into the sunset as they're replaced by smartphones for on-the-go imaging purposes. This year Sony sold 17 million; next year it only expects to sell 13.5 million.
Sony continues to be a bit player in the PC market, with sales of its
and desktops essentially flat at 7.5 million units.
One of the biggest areas of turbulence for Sony
is its TV unit
. Sales, which include the flagship Bravia brand, were riding high at 19.6m units in fiscal 2012 (ending March 2012), but in fiscal 2013
to 13.5m units. That places Sony narrowly ahead of its domestic rivals like Toshiba Corp. (
), Panasonic Corp. (
), and Sharp Corp. (
), but behind South Korea's Samsung and LG Electronics, Inc. (
Sony is third-place in the TV market.
Sony believes sales will briefly recover, reaching 16.0m units for fiscal 2014.
Sony's biggest profits came from its financial/insurance unit which earned $1.47B USD (¥146B). Sony Pictures and Sony BMG (music) cumulatively made $960M USD (¥95B).
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