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Sony reports preliminary profit above forecast on savings

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The Tokyo-based company reported preliminary operating profit of 285 billion yen (S$3.634 billion) for the fiscal year through March 2017, 19 per cent higher than its previous forecast, according to a statement Friday.

[TOKYO] Chief executive officer Kazuo Hirai is showing the turnaround at Sony Corp was no fluke.

The Tokyo-based company reported preliminary operating profit of 285 billion yen (S$3.634 billion) for the fiscal year through March 2017, 19 per cent higher than its previous forecast, according to a statement Friday. It also said net income would be about 73 billion yen, more than twice the previous forecast.

That marks the second straight year operating profit has topped US$2 billion, the longest such streak since 2001. The company cited strong performance across most businesses and cost-savings in its insurance unit. Its chips division also saw lower expenses after a faster-than-expected recovery from last year's earthquake in western Japan.

"This will strengthen the market's confidence going into the next fiscal year," said Kazunori Ito, an analyst at Morningstar Investment Services.

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"Despite the strengthening yen, the fact that chips were mentioned in this release means they probably contributed quite a lot to this upward revision."

Sony, which plans to release final earnings on April 28, left its revenue outlook unchanged at 7.6 trillion yen. Shares trading in Germany rose 1.9 per cent after the results, more than the 0.6 per cent the stock rose in Tokyo prior to the announcement. Sony is up 9.7 per cent so far this year through Friday in Tokyo trading.

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