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Sony Reports First Full-Year Net Profit in 5 Years, Thanks in Part to Its Strong Insurance Division. We Didn't Even Know Sony Had an Insurance Division Financial Times

"Sony reported its first full-year net profit in five years on Thursday and said it expected earnings to grow by a further 16% this year, helped by restructuring efforts and a weaker yen," reports the Financial Times.

The story notes, "Sony has for some time relied on profits from the banking and insurance operations it owns in Japan to make up for weakness in other businesses. Last year was no different: Its financial arm earned a profit of 149 billion yen, three times more than the next most profitable division, its US-based film studio."

Sony Life, which is insurance the company sells in Japan, continues to be a strong performer for Sony.

The company also benefited from the sale of its New York headquarters for $1 billion.

Says the story, "The Japanese electronics and entertainment group said net profit for the year that ended in March totaled 43 billion yen ($435m), a turnround from its massive 457 billion yen loss a year earlier. For the current year, it expects to earn a profit of 50 billion yen."

The article adds, "Sony has axed 10,000 jobs, or about 6% of its workforce, [and] shrunk its lossmaking television manufacturing business."

Continuing about the TV-set division, the story says that Sony's "once-dominant TV operation remained in the red, however. The company has struggled to compete against South Korean and Taiwanese producers in the era of digital flat-screens, and the operation has been losing money for nearly a decade."