HONG KONG — After a rough few months, Sony got some relief on Wednesday as net profit almost doubled analysts’ expectations and the company reduced its loss projections for the year.
Not all the news was good, though. Sony, the Japanese electronics maker and media company, said that it would lay off 2,100 employees in its struggling mobile communications unit by March 31. It also detailed costs relating to a November hacking attack on its film division.
In an earnings statement, Sony said it spent $15 million in the quarter that ended Dec. 31 on investigation and remediation costs related to the attack. Sony said revenue for the division was expected to fall 12 percent compared with a year earlier, mainly because of a decrease in sales for movie and television production
Despite the layoffs in the mobile division, sales for the beleaguered unit rose 29 percent compared with a year earlier because of increased sales in smartphones and an “improvement in product mix,” the statement said. Sony revenue was also lifted by an increase in sales of Sony’s PlayStation game console and image sensors used in smartphone cameras.
As a result, Sony said it expected the net loss for the financial year that will end March 31 to shrink to 170 billion yen, or about $1.45 billion, from the ¥230 billion loss in its October projection.
For the quarter that ended in December, Sony said net profit more than doubled compared with the year earlier, to ¥89 billion. That was well above the ¥37.5 billion estimate by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Expected revenue rose 6 percent, to ¥2.6 trillion, above the ¥2.4 trillion in sales estimated by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Although the mobile division was Sony’s most profitable in 2013, it has been hit by rising competition from Asian rivals who make midrange phones. In China, companies like Xiaomi and Huawei have had success selling less expensive handsets, while in India, phones made by Micromax have been selling well.
At the higher end, Samsung and Apple have proved to be tough competitors for Sony’s Xperia Z3 smartphone, which was released about the time of the hugely popular iPhone 6.
In 2014, Sony sold its computer division and spun off its television group into a separate unit.