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Sony raises annual forecast despite PS3 losses

Bravia TV sales have helped Sony raise its annual forecast despite losses associated with launching PS3 in the US and Japan.

Production delays for PlayStation 3 have taken their toll on Sony's bottom line, but the company was still able to beat profit estimates and raise its annual forecasts today.

Sony's game division recorded a quarterly loss of 54.2 billion yen (EUR 343m) for the period ended December 31, which the company blamed on PS3 start-up costs and the decision to sell the next-generation console below the cost of production to develop market share. It also admitted that sales of PlayStation Portable have been weak.

However the company recorded net profit of 159.9 billion yen (EUR 1.01bn) overall, which is only down on last year's number by some five percent. Meanwhile operating profit was up over 100 percent to 177.4 billion yen (EUR 1.12bn) thanks to better-than-expected sales of flatscreen "Bravia" televisions and Cybershot cameras.

This enabled Sony to raise its projected net profit for the current year, ending March 31, to 110 billion yen (EUR 696m).

As well as problems with PS3 production, centring on the company's Blu-ray next-gen DVD technology, Sony has been forced to deal with a massive laptop battery recall this year, along with a weaker yen during the October-December quarter, which would otherwise boost the value of profits from the US and Europe.