Sony booth at the 2015 CES in Las Vegas David Becker, Getty Images

FINANCIAL ROUNDUP: Smartphones, Video Games Help Sony Triple Net Profits

Siemens profits down slightly ... Rolls-Royce profits falls, too ... Renault doubles profits for first half ... Samsung, Fujitsu and NEC all remain in the red, while Nokia improves quarterly sales and profits.

TOKYO — Sony said Thursday its April-June net profit more than tripled as video games and smartphone component sales got a lift, with the company emerging from a painful corporate restructuring that included layoffs and asset sales.

The company logged a quarterly net profit of 82.4 billion yen ($662.45 million), while operating profit also jumped nearly 39%. But overall sales were flat, edging down 0.1% to 1.8 trillion yen ($14.47 billion). The upbeat results come after Sony lost $1.1 billion in its previous fiscal year.

The firm still struggled in its core electronics business with weaker demand for mid-range LCD televisions and home audio, as it shifts focus to higher-end TVs. Operating profits for its devices and video games groups increased 164% and 350%, respectively.

SIEMENS: BERLIN — Engineering giant Siemens said Thursday its third-quarter profit was down slightly and predicted a complex year, citing “geopolitical tensions.”

Net income stood at 1.38 billion euros ($1.51 billion), down 2% year on year for April to June, said the Munich-based company. Siemens, whose products include trains, gas turbines and medical equipment, confirmed its full-year outlook of an industrial business profit margin of 10% to 11%.

“Overall our businesses delivered solid underlying profitability despite a softening market environment,” said CEO Joe Kaeser. ”We expect to maintain our momentum with a strong closing quarter for fiscal 2015.”

FIAT CHRYSLER: MILAN – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Thursday its second-quarter profits were up by almost 70% year on a year earlier, and it was raising its 2015 revenue forecast.

The company said net profit was 333 million euros ($363.90 million), up sharply from 197 million euros ($215.28 million) in the same period in 2014, and it was subsequently raising its revenue outlook from 108 billion euros to 110 billion euros ($118.02 million to $120.21 million).

It was a bit of good news for the Italian-American automaker, which is bracing to shell out a record $90 million for lapses in recalls of its vehicles under a deal reached with U.S. regulators.

ROLLS-ROYCE: LONDON — Engine maker Rolls-Royce reported a fall in half-year profits Thursday amid weaker demand for the Airbus A330 from airlines and sluggishness in its marine business.

Profits were down 34% to £360 million ($562.74 million) in the six months to the end of June. The group has forecast it will continue to struggle in the second half of this year and next year due to weaker demand for the Airbus 330 from airlines, for which it manufactures Trent 700 engines.

“In the near term, we are managing a significant transition from mature engines to newer, more fuel efficient ones,” said CEO Warren East, who was appointed earlier this year. “At the same time, we are taking appropriate actions to mitigate the effects of weakness in our offshore marine markets.”

RENAULT: PARIS — Renault announced Thursday its first half profits had doubled to 1.4 billion euros ($1.53 billion) compared to the same period in 2014 as the European market showed a stronger than expected recovery.

In addition to nearly doubling its first half profits of 749 million euros ($820.44 million) last year, Renault said its primary income on car sales had progressed 12.4% to 21 billion euros ($23.00 billion). Total sales improved by 12%, reaching 22.1 billion euros ($24.21 billion).

Revenue from higher sales was further bolstered by favorable exchange rates, the company said, while price increases in markets like Brazil and Russia helped off-set falling national currency values. Renault said attentiveness to costs and increased efficiencies provided roughly half of the profit rise, with improved sales responsible for the other half. 

SAMSUNG: SEOUL — Samsung Electronics posted an 8.0% fall in second-quarter net profit Thursday and promised “flexible” pricing of its new flagship smartphone after less than stellar sales contributed to a slump in its mobile unit’s earnings.

The world’s largest smartphone maker said net profit for the April-June period stood at 5.75 trillion won ($4.90 billion), down from 6.25 trillion won ($5.33 billion) a year ago and slightly below analyst estimates. Operating profit also shrank 4.03% from a year ago to 6.9 trillion won ($5.88 billion) while sales dropped 7.3% to 48.5 trillion won ($41.35 billion).

The conglomerate has now seen its net profit decline for five straight quarters year-on-year, mainly due to heightened competition in an increasingly saturated smartphone market that it had dominated for years.

NOKIA: HELSINKI — Nokia reported on Thursday that its network equipment business had significantly improved sales and profitability in the second quarter, sending its share price soaring more than 7%. The company reported group sales increased 9% compared with the same period last year, to 3.2 billion euros ($3.51 billion). 

The group’s second2quarter attributable net profit was down to 347 million euros ($380.12 million), compared with 2.5 billion euros ($2.74 billion) last year, the drop resulting from discontinued operations. Nokia’s Devices and Services unit – the unprofitable handset business – whose sale to Microsoft in 2013 was finalized in April 2014, contributed to net profit in the second quarter 2014.  

Operating profit meanwhile almost doubled to 508 million euros ($556.49 million) in Q2, compared with 284 million euros ($311.11 million) last year.

FUJITSU: TOKYO — Fujitsu on Thursday warned that it plunged into the red in April-June on sluggish sales of personal computers and network equipment, but said it would still meet its full-year profit target.

The sprawling IT conglomerate fell into a 27.3 billion yen ($219.48 million) operating loss for its fiscal first quarter, reversing a year-earlier profit of 7.29 billion yen ($58.61 million). Sales edged down slightly to 1.065 trillion yen ($8.56 billion), it said.

The weak results hit Fujitsu shares, which fell 3.18% in afternoon Tokyo trading. The company left its annual forecast unchanged, expecting a 100 billion yen net profit ($803.94 million) on sales of 4.85 trillion yen ($38.99 billion).

NEC: TOKYO — NEC said Thursday it remained stuck in the red during its fiscal first quarter largely owing to weakness in its telecom division, but was still on track for a full-year profit.

The information technology giant reported a net loss of 10.02 billion yen ($80.55 million) in the April-June period, barely changed from its shortfall a year earlier. Revenue slipped 2.0% to 586.6 billion yen ($4.72 billion) while NEC’s operating loss widened to 10.1 billion yen ($81.20 million) from 7.1 billion yen ($57.08 million) in the same three months last year, it said.

Despite the latest quarterly results, NEC left unchanged its previous forecast for a 65 billion yen ($522.56 million) net profit on sales of 3.1 trillion yen ($24.92 billion) in the fiscal year to March.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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