Sony Profit Beats Estimates as Selfies Drive Demand for Sensors

Sony Corp. profit tripled in the first quarter as a renewed focus on sensor chips and video games begins to pay off for an electronics maker that posted losses for six of the past seven years.

Net income jumped to 82.4 billion yen ($664 million) in the three months ended June, the Tokyo-based company said on Thursday. That compares with the 40.3 billion yen average of three analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

President Kazuo Hirai has said this fiscal year marks the beginning of an expansion phase after the maker of the PlayStation 4 cut thousands of jobs and shifted focus away from phones and consumer electronics. Sony plans to raise $3.4 billion selling stock and convertible bonds to help pay for a fourfold increase in semiconductor spending as it also invests in video game network services and virtual reality gear.

“Market expectations for Sony have changed to now anticipate growth,” Kazunori Ito, an analyst at Barclays Plc in Tokyo, said prior to the earnings release. “The PS4 had an excellent start and is now at a point where Sony is expected to begin reaping the benefits.”