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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Sony sees its profits rise by 15%
Sony movie Spider-Man 2
The success of Spider-Man 2 boosted Sony's profits
Sony has posted a 15% rise in annual profits, as solid results from its film and music divisions offset increased losses at its core electronics unit.

For the 12 months to 31 March, the Japanese firm made operating profits of 113.9bn yen ($1bn; 564m).

Profits at its film division rose to 63.9bn yen from 35bn yen a year earlier, boosted by the box office success of the film Spider-Man 2.

Annual losses at the electronics unit widened from 6.9bn yen to 34.4bn yen.

Apple challenge

Sony is continuing with a three-year restructuring and cost-cutting plan, as it aims to turn around its fortunes and cut fixed costs by 330bn yen.

For the current 2005/2006 financial year, it predicts that profits will increase by 40% as it continues to reap the benefits of its restructuring plan.

Sir Howard Stringer
Sir Howard has been charged with turning around Sony's fortunes

The firm's electronics unit is struggling with falling global prices for DVD players, televisions and video cameras.

While some of its rivals make the majority of their own components and so are better able to control costs, Sony has a history of buying in many of its parts.

The maker of the world's first personal music player - the Sony Walkman - is also continuing to lose ground in the world of digital music players to Apple's market-leading iPod.

Welsh-born leader

In the fourth quarter, Sony made a net loss of 56.5bn yen, worse than the 38.2bn figure recorded a year earlier.

Earlier this year, Sony appointed Welsh-born Sir Howard Stringer, 63, as its first non-Japanese chairman.

He was chief executive of Sony's US division, and has spoken about the need for Sony to better tailor its electronics products to customers' wants and needs.

Electronics firm Sanyo also reported its annual results on Wednesday.

Sanyo blamed poor sales of digital cameras and mobile phones for a 137.1bn yen annual loss, wider than expectations.

It was also hit by earthquake damage to one of its chip-manufacturing plants.

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