Embattled entertainment and electronics giant Sony beat analysts’ expectations with first-half profits today, thanks to a weak yen and the success of Sony’s Xperia smartphones.
The company made a profit of 3.5 billion yen (£23 million) in the first six months of 2013, compared to a 24.6 billion yen loss in the same period last year.
The Japanese firm highlighted the performance of its smartphones in driving the turnaround, with sales up 36%. The Xperia Z smartphone launch helped Sony overtake Apple as the top smartphone brand in Japan by market share.
But when currency changes are stripped out, sales revenues fell 3% in the six months to June 30 as fewer people bought other Sony products..
The company has benefited from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ‘shock-and-awe’ tactics to boost the economy, which have seen the yen dip nearly 25% against the dollar since November.
Sony is facing pressure from activist investor Daniel Loeb to spin off its entertainment division, which represents artists such as Daft Punk and Justin Timberlake. Loeb, whose hedge fund Third Point Capital owns a 7% stake in Sony, wants the company to float the division to fund a restructuring of Sony’s electronics business, which saw sales fall 9.7%.