Electronics giant Sony is back in the black for the first time in five years. A weaker yen has offered hope the Japanese company can again become a market leader after record struggles.
Sony recorded a net profit of 43 billion yen ($435.7 million, 331 million euros) for the fiscal year ending March 31, the company said Thursday. The earnings mark a turnaround from the previous year's record annual net loss of 456.7 billion yen.
After years of losses chief financial officer Masaru Kato said Sony's management "were determined to report a profit no matter what."
Over the past several years the company has cut thousands jobs and sold off assets in a bid to boost profits. Earlier this month, dozens of senior executives announced they would forego their annual bonuses due to continued losses in the electronics sector.
Weak yen aids profits
Sales for the January-March period increased 8 percent to 1.7 trillion yen, Sony said. The rise in sales helped the company log an operating profit of 147.1 billion yen in the quarter, compared to an operating loss of 1.4 billion yen a year ago.
Sony said it expects its recovery to continue, projecting a 50 billion yen profit for the fiscal year through March 2014 on sales of 7.5 trillion yen. That renewed profitability is also expected to carry into the TV business, the company added.
Japanese firms, including rivals Panasonic and Sharp, have struggled against foreign competition in the low-margin television market.
Japan's weak yen, driven by the policies of newly appointed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has helped boost Sony's sales overseas by keeping product prices down. The currency has fallen 25 percent against the US dollar since November.
Sony's share prices, meanwhile, have more than doubled after a 32-year low in mid-November.
dr/msh (AFP, AP, dpa)