Sony returned to the black for the first time in five years, thanks largely to one-time gains from the sale of assets rather than its core consumer electronics products.
The Japanese electronics giant on Thursday reported a net profit of US$458 million in the 2012 financial year ending 31 March, compared with a loss of US$5.7 billion the year earlier (PDF). It also recorded an operating profit of US$2.45 billion in 2012, compared with a loss of US$820 million last year.
The company recorded US$72 million in sales, a meagre increase of 4.7 per cent over the previous year, attributable to its takeover of Sony Ericsson, favourable foreign exchange rates and increased financial services revenue.
The return to profitability came despite continued deterioration in Sony's core electronics business, including falling demand for digital cameras, gaming consoles and personal computers. Helping the company achieve profitability targets were the sale of assets, such as its US headquarters building in New York, Tokyo office buildings and a portion of its stake in online medical-service provider M3.
Sony expects its recovery to continue, projecting a US$505 million profit for the 2013 fiscal year, a 16 per cent increase.