Sony returns to black in last quarter, sees signs of hope for the future

Sony hasn’t been able to report good news on the financial front for quite some time, but now things it looks like things changed to the better. The company today said [“Sony Global Earnings Releases” in English] in Tokyo it returned to the black in the October-December quarter (Sony’s fiscal year ends March 31) with a handsome $1.6 billion operating profit.

This is Sony’s first operating profit in five quarters, after CEO Howard Stringer (pictured) reduced the global workforce by 20,000 heads, froze wages, closed 18% of all plants and cut fixed costs along all business lines. For the same quarter the previous year,  Sony logged a $197 million operating loss.

The PS3 played a good role, too. Sony sold 6.5 million PS3s in 3Q this fiscal but only 4.5 million PS3 in the same time frame last year. For the “Network Products and Services” segment (which includes video game sales) as a whole, Sony logged a profit of $213 million after losing $66 million a year earlier.

The company still expects a $770 million group net loss for the year through March, which is much more positive than the previous forecast of $1 billion. Last year, Sony reported a $1.1 billion loss.