The process of taking a cellphone picture of yourself drove demand for smartphone camera image sensors. Sony will use funds from its capital raise announced last month to boost image sensor production.
The image sensors have become a best seller, with clients including Apple (AAPL) - Get Report, Samsung (SSNLF) and Chinese handset maker Xiaomi, which all use cameras on both the front and the back of the phone. Strong sales of PlayStation games also helped offset losses in Sony's movie division.
Sony profits were up threefold, coming in $664 million, almost double most analyst estimates. The company was also buoyed by insurance recoveries following the highly broadcast cyber attack on the entertainment division. However, Sony shares slumped on the news of the company's decision to raise capital for the first time in almost 15 years.
The Tokyo based company's restructuring efforts have been going on for almost a decade, with the electronics maker posting six years of losses out of seven. The creator of the PlayStation 4 has been working to move its focus away from its struggling consumer electronics and smartphone handset divisions.
Sony lowered its 2015 outlook for smartphone sales for the second time in three months, reducing estimates from 30 million to 27 million units. The company has also been hit by slow economic growth in Brazil and South America and has struggled with increasingly cheap competition from the Indian market.
Sales in the movie division provided further cause for concern for Sony, dropping 12% for the quarter and failing to come up with any big box office hits. Last year the company saw a benefit from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and 22 Jump Street, both of which scored big at movie theaters.
CEO Kazou Hirai is hoping that the image sensor demand will help boost Sony's turnaround.
TheStreet Ratings team rates SONY CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate SONY CORP (SNE) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that we feel that the company's cash flow from its operations has been weak overall."
You can view the full analysis from the report here: SNE Ratings Report