Profits at Sony Pictures rose to $489 million for the financial year running to the end of March 2019. That compares with $376 million in the previous financial year.
The pictures division result was achieved despite a fall in revenue. That dropped from $9.13 billion in the preceding financial year, to $8.87 billion in the year to March 2019.
The Japanese conglomerate, which stretches from electronics to music, film and games entertainment, reported its full year financial data on Friday. Group revenues hit $78.1 billion, net profits hit $6.38 billion.
Sony recently teased news of a fifth generation of its PlayStation entertainment console. It is expected to include ray tracing technology and a solid state hard drive to allow games to load quicker. A commercial launch is not expected during this calendar year.
Earlier this month it was revealed that activist investor Dan Loeb of Third Point Capital had amassed a share stake, and may agitate for strategic change at the group. The size of the stake is not known.
Loeb made a similar attempt six years ago, argued that the film business was “poorly managed” and pressed Sony to sell or spin off its entertainment businesses. Sony responded by insisting that owning 100% of its entertainment business is fundamental to its strategy.
In the intervening period, Sony has seen its film business profitability improve, and it has expanded its music business through acquisition. Group profits hit a record in 2017-18. Sony’s top management has changed, with the former finance director Kenichiro Yoshida, now group CEO.
Sony’s Tokyo-traded shares peaked at JPY6,996 at the end of September 2018. But they had tumbled to JPY4,630 in March 2019, just before the return of Loeb. Prior to Friday’s results announcement, made after the stock market close, Sony’s shares stood at JPY5,212.