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Sony TV Sales Rise 30% as Viewers Ready for World Cup

Sony Corp.’s television sales revenue jumped the most in the first quarter since at least 2012 as global demand increased amid the Winter Olympics and before the World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil.

Sony sales rose 30 percent to $2.15 billion, compared with $1.65 billion a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Samsung Electronics Co. generated the most sales in the quarter with about $9 billion, a 1 percent increase, and LG Electronics Inc., TCL Corp., Sony and Skyworth Digital Holdings Ltd. made up the rest of the top five.

Sony Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai said last month the company’s struggling TV unit could make its first profit in more than a decade even if it misses sales forecasts by as much as 16 percent. Japan’s No. 1 TV maker unexpectedly forecast a 50 billion-yen net loss this year as slumping demand for its sets and video cameras was compounded by the costs of restructuring and exiting the personal-computer business.

“Globally, Sony has been successful in focusing on high-end TV models,” Junya Ayada, a Tokyo-based analyst at Daiwa Securities Group Inc., said by phone. “Sales in Europe have increased in the three months ended March due to improvements in operations.”

Sony rose 0.2 percent to 1,639 yen in Tokyo, curbing its decline to 10 percent this year. The benchmark Topix index lost 0.1 percent. Samsung fell 0.6 percent to 1,413,000 won in Seoul, compared with a 0.2 percent decline in the benchmark Kospi index.

Skyworth, Hisense

Global TV shipments in the first quarter rose less than 1 percent to 50.8 million units, according to the data. Samsung shipped about 12.2 million sets, LG 8.3 million and TCL 3.7 million.

Sony, which shipped 3.1 million units, has forecast sales of 16 million liquid-crystal display sets this fiscal year, though Hirai said the business can still make money if it sells only 13.5 million units, the same number as last year. Hirai has trimmed the TV product lineup to focus on so-called 4K ultra high definition sets.

Hong Kong-based Skyworth boosted revenue 35 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Qingdao, China-based Hisense Electric Co. boosted sales 12 percent in the same period.

“One reason Chinese manufacturers have expanded sales is because of an increase in 4K TV sales in their domestic market,” Ayada said.

The average selling price of a Sony TV in the quarter was $690.80, an 8 percent premium to the global average of $640, according to the data compiled by Bloomberg.

The average Samsung set was the most expensive at $739.70, with the cheapest average television price coming from TP Vision.

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil starts today.

The TV sales data supplied by IDC did not list figures for Panasonic Corp., Sharp Corp. and Koninklijke Philips NV.

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