Sony having problems moving past the quake

9781596438286_zoomSony does not seem to have moved past the curse of Poseidon the god of earthquakes who seems to have put his trident firmly in the outfit’s bottom line.

Sony delayed its earnings forecast from late April after quakes shook the southern city of Kumamoto, home to one of its five image sensor plants. It partially resumed operations this month and on Tuesday said wafer production would resume by the end of August.

The outfit reported a 48 percent drop in operating profit for the July-September quarter as earthquake damage continued to affect its cash-cow imaging sensor business.

Second-quarter profit nearly halved to $435.90 million. The result came a day after Sony lowered its full-year profit forecast by 10 percent to $257.05 million due to the sale of its battery business.

Investors were not too concerned as Sony maintained its sales outlook and losses related to the battery business sale had been flagged earlier.

Emerging from years of restructuring, the consumer electronics manufacturer is refocusing its business to concentrate on videogames, entertainment and imaging sensors, and the sale of its battery business was part of that effort.

Its sensors business continued to struggle in the second quarter as a key factory damaged by a series of earthquakes in April took almost half a year to recover to pre-disaster levels.

Investors are betting on momentum in the gaming business to pick up toward the year-end holiday shopping season with the launch later this month of the PlayStation 4 Pro, an upgrade capable of rendering high-definition graphics.

Sony is also widely expected to build an early lead in the fledgling virtual-reality (VR) market, with a headset priced more modestly than those of rivals and available to its 40 million existing users of its flagship consoles.