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Sony poised for first record profit in 20 years

Games, semiconductors, other businesses contribute to balanced earnings

TOKYO -- Sony is expecting its first record group operating profit in 20 years for fiscal 2017, the company announced Tuesday, a comeback attributed to a balanced business model that generates income from wide-ranging operations that extend from electronics to finance.

The Tokyo-based company said it's on track for a 630 billion yen ($5.55 billion) operating profit for the year ending in March. 

Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida was cautious in announcing the upgrade. "Rather than a recovery," the first record profit in 20 years means "we could not surpass ourselves for 20 years," he said. "We will continue to manage the business without dropping our guard."

The semiconductor segment is projected to log 150 billion yen in operating profit for the year ending in March, bouncing back from a 7.8 billion yen loss the previous year and 20 billion yen higher than originally forecast.

Image sensor sales are growing with the rise of dual-camera smartphones. The chip business booked a loss in fiscal 2016 due to earthquakes in Kumamoto in southwestern Japan but is set to improve significantly this fiscal year.

Sales of digital single-lens reflex cameras and organic light-emitting diode televisions are on the rise, as are PlayStation 4 sales. Operating profit for the game and network service segment is projected at 180 billion yen.

The latest estimate factors in roughly 50 billion yen set aside for responding to possible business emergencies. Barring any unexpected losses, the operating profit could exceed the new projection.

Sony is planning an annual dividend of 25 yen per share, up 5 yen from the previous year.


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