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Sony Third-Quarter Profit Beats Analyst Estimates; Sales Forecast Lowered

Sony Corp., Japan’s biggest exporter of consumer electronics, reported third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as it raised its forecast for compact camera sales.

Net income dropped 8.6 percent to 72.3 billion yen ($886 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31, from 79.2 billion yen a year earlier, the Tokyo-based maker of Bravia televisions said in a statement today. That beat the 65.9 billion yen average of six analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The company raised its full-year compact camera sales target to 24 million units on demand for Cyber-shot models. Sony plans to unveil a tablet computer and a new PlayStation Portable game player as Sony aims to catch up with the popularity of Apple Inc.’s iPad and Nintendo Co.’s DS players.

Operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold and administrative expenses, fell 5.9 percent to 137.5 billion yen, compared with 146.1 billion yen a year earlier. Revenue fell 1.4 percent to 2.21 trillion yen.

The company lowered its full-year revenue forecast to 7.2 trillion yen from 7.4 trillion yen and cut the TV sales target to 23 million units from 25 million.

Sony rose 0.7 percent to 2,867 yen at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo trading before the announcement. The stock gained 9.6 percent last year, while top TV maker Samsung Electronics Co. climbed 19 percent, while Panasonic Corp. declined 3.1 percent.