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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 January 2006, 08:43 GMT
Sony revival sees rise in profits
Sony chief executive Howard Stringer
Sony boss Mr Stringer cut thousands of jobs last year
Electronics giant Sony, whose products include flat-screen TVs and Playstation games consoles, has reported a surprise jump in third-quarter profits.

Pre-tax profit for the three months to 31 December beat forecasts with a 51% jump to 226bn yen ($1.95bn; 1.1bn).

The results were lifted by sales of the PlayStation Portable games console, offsetting losses at its film division.

The figures prompted the company to drop its forecast of a first annual loss in 11 years.

Flat-screen TVs

Sony saw strong sales of flat-screen LCD televisions, with Japanese press reports saying it will meet rising demand for the screens by building a new factory in South Korea with another manufacturer, Samsung.

A lack of blockbuster movie success hit its movie division, where it made a 400m yen loss, compared with a 18.6bn yen profit a year earlier.

"This is an extremely positive result, easily outstripping expectations," said Mizuho Securities analyst Koichi Hariya.

Sony's previous set of quarterly results had seen profits fall, hit by a slump in the price of televisions and costs related to the launch of its new games console.

Sony PlayStation 3
The PlayStation 3 could be out by the spring

Last September, newly-appointed Sony boss Sir Howard Stringer launched a massive restructuring programme in an effort to revive the performance of the company's consumer electronics division.

The plan involved 10,000 job cuts and 11 factory closures.

In the latest phase of Sony's restructuring, the firm announced on Wednesday that it was ending the manufacture of its Walkman portable music players in Japan, shifting production to China and Malaysia.

Sony's shares have now risen 38% in the last three months.

A key factor in Sony's success this year will be its performance in the $25bn gaming industry.

It is due to launch its latest PlayStation 3 (PS3) games console in the spring, about six months behind Microsoft's rival Xbox 360 player.

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