Sony to Spend 45 Billion Yen to Boost Sensor Capacity

Sony Corp. plans to boost capacity for chips used in camera sensors, its second such increase announced this year, as it gears up to meet demand for the chips used in devices including Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

The company will spend 45 billion yen ($375 million) to expand its Nagasaki and Yamagata TEC facilities in Japan, it said Tuesday in a statement. The investment is in addition to 105 billion yen in planned spending to make more so-called CMOS sensors Sony announced in February.

Image sensors, games and entertainment underpin Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai’s push to revive profit at a company projecting its sixth loss in seven years. Stressing profitability instead of volume growth and shifting away from TVs has helped Sony focus on its advantages, such as the sensors that help boost the quality of smartphone pictures.

Sony gained 1 percent to 3,525 yen at the close in Tokyo trading. The shares have soared 43 percent this year, compared with a 13 percent gain for the benchmark Topix index.

The increased investment will be included in capital spending plans for the current financial year ending March 2016, Shinichi Tobe, a Tokyo-based spokesman, said Tuesday.

Sony has forecast sales of as much as 1.5 trillion yen in the year ending March 2018 for its business that makes sensors, camera modules and memory storage. The business is expected to have an operating margin of 10 percent to 12 percent.

Operating profit will reach 500 billion yen in the year ending March 2018, the company forecasts. That’s the highest since 520 billion yen in 1998, when income was fueled by MiniDisc players and the first “Men in Black” movie.

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