Sony forecasts record profit after PlayStation 5 launch

Sony forecasts record profit after PlayStation 5 launch
Sony Playstation 4 gaming items are displayed for sale at a store in Tokyo on February 3, 2021. (File/AFP)
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Updated 03 February 2021

Sony forecasts record profit after PlayStation 5 launch

Sony forecasts record profit after PlayStation 5 launch

TOKYO: Sony said Wednesday it expects a record net profit this financial year as fresh virus lockdowns continue to boost demand for games and consoles, including the recently released PlayStation 5.
Although the pandemic has hit many industries hard, the gaming sector has been one of the few to experience an unprecedented boom, with people seeking entertainment at home during successive rounds of restrictions.
The Japanese tech giant said net profit jumped 87 percent in April-December from the same period earlier, to 1.1 trillion yen ($10 billion).
The firm revised upwards its full-year sales and profits forecasts on the back of “higher-than-expected sales in all segments except for the pictures (movies) segment,” it said.
PlayStation 5 sales reached 4.5 million units by the end of December, the company said, but pandemic-related supply problems have left many would-be customers empty-handed.
The demand has led to chaotic scenes at electronics stores when supplies do become available.
“We are so far on course to reach our planned sales target... for the current fiscal year, but we are not fully meeting strong demand from our customers,” said chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki.
“It is quite hard for us to expand our production capacity due to the impact of the global shortage of semiconductors. We will do our best to bring as many units as possible to customers waiting for the PS5.”
Sony’s full-year sales are now projected at 8.8 trillion yen, up from 8.5 trillion yen forecast in October.
The firm, which also revised its annual forecasts up last quarter, hiked net profit outlook to a record 1.1 trillion yen for the fiscal year to March, from an earlier estimate of 800 billion yen.

The much-anticipated PlayStation 5 console hit shelves in mid-November, kicking off a head-to-head battle for holiday sales with the new Xbox from US rival Microsoft.
Sony expects to sell 7.6 million units by the end of March, hoping to beat the performance of the PlayStation 4 — a goal analysts said it was on track to meet.
“PS5 got off to a steady start in general, selling well in accordance with its plan,” said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo.
“Initial shipping and marketing costs squeezed its earnings in the third quarter, but we should not be pessimistic so far,” Yasuda told AFP.
As well as sales in the gaming sector, Sony’s strong earnings were driven by strong demand for imaging sensors — key parts for cameras in phones including models made by Apple and Huawei.
Sony’s animation unit Aniplex also scored a box-office triumph with the anime epic “Demon Slayer,” which in December became Japan’s top-grossing film of all time.
“Although the film’s contribution to such a huge company was limited, it helped boost Sony’s brand image,” Yasuda said, as the firm seeks to broaden its entertainment offering.
But it was not all smooth sailing, with Sony opting to pull the much-hyped Cyberpunk 2077 game from PlayStation stores in December after a flood of complaints over bugs and compatibility issues.
Sony shares, hovering around two-decade highs, have soared some 40 percent over the past 12 months and closed at 10,635 yen, up 1.62 percent, as the firm released the results just after the closing bell.


UAE’s Chimera, US Alpha Wave to lead $10bn tech fund

UAE’s Chimera, US Alpha Wave to lead $10bn tech fund
Image: Getty
Updated 17 sec ago

UAE’s Chimera, US Alpha Wave to lead $10bn tech fund

UAE’s Chimera, US Alpha Wave to lead $10bn tech fund
  • The fund’s ticket size ranges from “tens of millions to hundreds”

RIYADH: Abu Dhabi based investment firm Chimera Capital has joined global alternative asset manager Alpha Wave in leading a $10 billion tech fund.

The fund will have a global remit but with a concentration on India and will focus on private firms across a wide array of sectors including artificial intelligence, financial technology, and life sciences, Bloomberg reported.

Both institutions will work hand in hand to pinpoint and run potential management opportunities in the South Asian country.

The fund’s ticket size ranges from “tens of millions to hundreds,” Bloomberg reported, citing Seif Fikry, Chimera’s chief executive officer.

This falls in line with the Gulf’s growing role as a major channel of capital for international firms such as SoftBank Group Corp. and Silver Lake.

The Gulf region has hit a record year for tech investments with an accumulated balance of $621 billion dispersed worldwide.


China’s Xi: Climate goals should not reduce our productivity

China’s Xi: Climate goals should not reduce our productivity
Updated 9 min 34 sec ago

China’s Xi: Climate goals should not reduce our productivity

China’s Xi: Climate goals should not reduce our productivity

RIYADH: China’s president, Xi Jinping, has warned the country’s climate objectives should not hold back productivity in the economic powerhouse.

Speaking at a Politburo session on Tuesday, Xi insisted that efforts to decarbonise the Asian country must not jeopardize the supply of vital commodities.

In 2020, Xi vowed to peak emissions by 2030 and deliver a net zero nation by 2060.

According to state news agency Xinhua, the president said: “Reducing emissions is not about reducing productivity, and it is not about not emitting at all.”

He added: “We must stick to the overall planning and ensure energy security, industrial supply chain security and food security at the same time as cutting carbon emissions.”

China’s drive to cut emissions led to a limit in coal, metal, and fertilizers production, causing an increase in their prices. This negatively affected inflation concerns in the country.

However, the country is expected to maintain stable oil, gas, and coal production — particularly amid power shortages across the nation.

 


Profits of the National Bank of Kuwait hit $1.2bn in 2021

Profits of the National Bank of Kuwait hit $1.2bn in 2021
Updated 45 min 37 sec ago

Profits of the National Bank of Kuwait hit $1.2bn in 2021

Profits of the National Bank of Kuwait hit $1.2bn in 2021

RIYADH: The National Bank of Kuwait, known as NBK, recorded a 47 percent jump in profits in 2021, reaching 362 million Kuwaiti dinars ($1.2 billion).

The bank attributed the hike in profits to higher net operating income, which was up over 3 percent to 547 million Kuwaiti dinars, as well as lower provision charges for credit and impairment losses.

The bank recommended cash dividends of 30 fils ($555) per share for the fiscal year 2021, it said in a statement to the Kuwaiti bourse.

Shareholders will also receive five bonus shares for every 100 shares, the statement revealed.


Qatar to launch first green bond to secure ESG funds

Qatar to launch first green bond to secure ESG funds
Updated 26 January 2022

Qatar to launch first green bond to secure ESG funds

Qatar to launch first green bond to secure ESG funds

RIYADH: Qatar intends to launch its first green fund as it aims to secure Environmental, Social, and Governance funding, Bloomberg reported.

The finance ministry is in contact with global banks in an attempt to accrue billions of dollars via green bonds.

Such a move may cause disputes among ESG investors given the Persian Gulf country’s vast carbon emissions on a global level, according to Bloomberg.

Qatar will appoint several banks to develop a plan on how the money is going to be spent.

A potential deal with state owned petroleum firm Qatar Energy could be sealed soon.

The Middle Eastern country aims to cut emissions by 25 percent by 2030.

However, gas remains a crucial commodity and the country is investing an estimated $30 billion to increase production capacity by 50 percent in the upcoming six years.

This comes as the gas shortages in Asia and Europe are partly attributed to the lack of proper spending in fossil fuels, Bloomberg reported, citing Saad Al-Kaabi, Qatar’s energy minister.

 


IMF urges El Salvador to remove bitcoin as legal tender

IMF urges El Salvador to remove bitcoin as legal tender
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Updated 26 January 2022

IMF urges El Salvador to remove bitcoin as legal tender

IMF urges El Salvador to remove bitcoin as legal tender
  • Bitcoin shot up in value in 2021 as Wall Street showed a growing appetite for cryptocurrency

he IMF on Tuesday called on El Salvador to change course and stop using bitcoin as legal tender, citing "large risks" posed by the cryptocurrency.


The small Central American nation in September became the first country in the world to embrace the digital money, allowing consumers to use it in all transactions, alongside the US dollar.


The call by the Washington-based crisis lender came as the cryptocurrency dropped in value amid wider volatility on Wall Street in recent days, undoing much of the gains it had made during a record-setting climb in value last year.


The IMF staff had previously called on El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele to reconsider putting bitcoin at the center of his country's finances.


The latest pronouncement used much stronger language and came from the IMF's board, which is comprised of representatives of member governments including the United States.


The board's directors "urged the authorities to narrow the scope of the bitcoin law by removing bitcoin's legal tender status," according to a statement.


They "stressed that there are large risks associated with the use of bitcoin on financial stability, financial integrity and consumer protection" and with issuing bitcoin-backed bonds.


Bitcoin was trading at about $37,000 on Tuesday, having lost about half its value compared to the record of $67,734 hit in November.

Bitcoin shot up in value in 2021 as Wall Street showed a growing appetite for cryptocurrency, while Tesla boss Elon Musk's controversial tweets about the digital assets helped the market rise and fall alike.


The trend was not lost on Bukele, who was elected in 2019 with promises to fight organized crime and improve security in his violence-wracked country.


His move last September to legalize bitcoin in El Salvador drew worldwide attention and sparked protests on the streets of the capital San Salvador that were also over his administration's judicial reforms, which critics said threaten democracy.


Thousands took to the streets carrying signs reading "No to bitcoin" and at one point burning one of the bitcoin ATMS that had been installed nationwide.


They didn't appear to deter Bukele, who announced in November plans to build the world's first "Bitcoin City," powered by a volcano and financed by $1 billion cryptocurrency bonds.


His administration had also taken advantage of price drops to buy the digital asset for the country.

The IMF was wary of the cryptocurrency's adoption from the start, with spokesman Gerry Rice saying before Bukele made the move official, "Adoption of bitcoin as legal tender raises a number of macroeconomic, financial and legal issues that require very careful analysis."


In Tuesday's statement from the board, they noted the fund supports the aim of "boosting financial inclusion" which could be advanced using the country's "Chivo" e-wallet, but warned about the high levels of volatility in the cryptocurrency's exchange rate.


Bitcoin's value has shown some correlation with Wall Street equities, but pressure has also come from China's crackdown on the trading and mining of cryptocurrencies, and also the risk of wider regulatory action from the likes of Europe and the United States.


Analysts also say it faces increased competition in 2022 from rival digital assets like ethereum.