Sony riding PS4 boost as mobile division in tailspin

Almost half of the behemoth's operating income is thanks to its PlayStation division, with mobile set to have a bad fiscal year.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
(Image: Sony)

Sony has ended its first quarter for 2018 with 225 billion yen in net income, approximately $2 billion -- a jump of 180 percent over the 81 billion yen net income posted at this time last year.

Income for the conglomerate for the three months to June 30 rose only 5 percent to 1.95 trillion yen. Stripping away extraordinary items from the first quarter of last year saw operating income increase by 61 percent to 195 billion yen.

Broken out by segment, Sony's Game & Network Services (G&NS) reported operating income of 84 billion yen on 472 billion yen of revenue; semiconductors added 29 billion yen in operating income on 202 billion yen of revenue; while the mobile division had an operating loss of 11 billion yen from 133 billion yen in sales.

The pain is far from over for the mobile business, with CFO Hiroki Totoki saying in prepared remarks that there is a risk things will go from bad to worse for the division.

"Since there is a risk that the competitive environment will become even more severe, we have begun to assess the impact on smartphone unit sales in the second half of the fiscal year and the countermeasures we will implement if that risk becomes a reality," he said.

"As a result of this assessment, there is a risk that we will have to downwardly revise our forecast further for the current fiscal year and revise our mid-range plan."

The company has revised its outlook from a 15 billion yen loss for the full year down to a 30 billion yen loss on the back of slowing mobile sales, especially in Europe. Sony is projecting it will only sell 9 million handsets this year, with 2 million coming in the first quarter. By comparison, it had sold 3.4 million at the same time this year, with IDC stating this week Huawei surpassed Apple in global smartphone shipments during Q2. The Chinese tech giant shipped 54.2 million smartphones during the quarter while Apple shipped 41.3 million units, IDC said.

On the positive side of the ledger, even though its sales of PS4 hardware were steady, software drove a 36 percent increase in revenue for G&NS, the company said. As a consequence, Sony has revised its full-year operating income upwards by 60 billion yen to 250 billion yen, and is expecting an additional 15 percent in sales to 2.2 trillion yen for the year.

In its semiconductor arm, Sony is expecting to increase its image sensors sales to 720 billion yen for the full year, from total expected semiconductor revenue of 890 billion yen. For the full year, the division is now expected to make 120 billion yen in operating income.

Earlier this week, Sony Australia reported AU$492 million in revenue during the 12 months to March 31, and profit before tax of AU$8.2 million.

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