Struggling Japanese electronics giant Sony says it has booked its first annual net profit in five years, offering a glimmer of hope for the former market leader.
But Sony's jump back into the black was largely due to fluctuations in the value of the yen and gains from a string of asset sales - including unloading its Manhattan office building for more than $A988.19 million - while its television and electronics business continues to struggle.
After Sony published its latest earnings on Thursday, the firm's chief financial officer Masaru Kato said years of losses had left management with one mission: "We were determined to report a profit no matter what."
Earlier this month, the firm said dozens of senior executives including chief executive Kazuo Hirai, who was appointed last year, would forego their annual bonuses to atone for a slump in Sony's electronics unit.
The decision came after the maker of PlayStation game consoles and Bravia televisions launched a massive corporate overhaul to stem losses. Thousands of jobs were cut and assets were sold.
"Sony has taken some drastic streamlining measures under new management," said Nomura Securities analyst Shiro Mikoshiba.
"Now the focus is on whether it can generate more profits."
Japan's electronics sector has suffered myriad problems including slowing demand in key export markets, fierce competition from lower-cost overseas rivals, a strong yen, and strategic mistakes that left its finances in ruins.
But a tumble in the yen in recent months - losing about a fifth of its value against the dollar since November - has helped Japan's exporters, making their products more competitive overseas and boosting the value of repatriated foreign income, inflating their bottom line.
Sony said the weaker yen boosted results in its film division, as demand for its digital cameras, video cameras and televisions remained weak, although Sony's CFO said he expected the TV business to turn a profit in the current fiscal year.
Japanese firms - including Sony rivals Sharp and Panasonic which report their full-year results over the next week - have struggled in the low-margin TV business where foreign rivals have proved tough competition.
On Thursday, Sony said it earned ¥43.03 billion ($A429.21 million) for the fiscal year to March, reversing a ¥456.66 billion loss a year earlier.
Sales in the period were ¥6.8 trillion, up 4.7 per cent on-year, Sony said, adding that it expected to post a net profit of ¥50 billion in the current fiscal year to March 2014 on sales of ¥7.5 trillion.
Sony's expected revenue in the current fiscal year was "primarily due to the depreciation of the yen and an increase in sales in the electronics businesses," it said.