Sony camera and sensor business units report drop in sales in 2015
Sony Corp. released its third quarter 2015 earnings report [PDF], in which the company disclosed notable drops in both camera and image sensor sales. It has also lowered the forecast for both business units, though both are still expected to make a profit in the current fiscal year.
|Note the drop in camera sales but increase in operating income due to the shift to higher-end models.|
Sales in the Imaging Products unit dropped by 5%, due to decreases in unit sales of digital still and video cameras, reflecting 'a contraction of the market, partially offset by an improvement in the product mix of digital cameras reflecting a shift to high value-added models.' In other words, they're selling fewer cheap compacts and more RX and a7-series cameras. Operating income went up by over 20%, however, due the aforementioned shift to higher-end digital cameras.
|Image sensor and battery sales are way down in Q3 2015 vs Q3 2014, and the forecast for FY2015 has been lowered considerably.|
The image sensor business took an even bigger hit. Sales in the Devices unit decreased by over 12% year-on-year due primary to a drop in sales of image sensors as well as batteries. Operating income dropped ¥65.5bn ($540m) to –¥11.7bn ($97m), due in large part to a write-down in assets related to batteries. While not specific to digital cameras, the company's statement mentioned a 7.5% drop in sales to external partners.
|Sales in Q1 and Q2 2015 were down more than 500k units each year-on-year and the company's forecast shows the gap widening in Q3 2015.|
Sony also revised its October forecasts downward for both business units. The Imaging unit's estimated sales has been reduced by 1.4% and now stands at ¥710bn (compared to ¥724bn in FY2014), while the forecast for the Devices business has been brought down by 11.3% to ¥940bn (compared to ¥927bn in FY2014). Both units are still expected to make a operating profit in FY2015, however.
On other item of note from the company's earnings call mentions the Oita manufacturing facility it recently bought from Toshiba. Sony says that they are considering using a portion of the factory for producing 'logic' (processors) rather than photodiodes (sensors) in order to reduce the cost of its sensors. While the company is considering this change to 'mitigate the downsized rate in [the sensor] business', it is 'confident in the long-term prospects of image sensors.'