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TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) - Japan's Sony Corp said operating profit doubled in the April-June quarter, helped by a strong performance in its games and networks division, even as the firm cut smartphone and TV sales forecasts that analysts had said were too ambitious.
Sony said operating profit in the first quarter of its fiscal year surged to 69.8 billion yen ($680 million) from 35.5 billion yen a year earlier, easily beating the 16.6 billion yen expected according to the average of six analysts' estimates according to Thomson Reuters Starmine. A one-off gain from the sale of a technology facility in Japan also contributed nearly 15 billion yen to the quarterly operating profit, Sony said.
Citing weaker market demand than previously expected, the company lowered its full-year sales forecasts for smartphones to 43 million handsets from previous guidance of 50 million, and its TV sales target to 15.5 million from 16 million. Sony warned it now only expects to break even on smartphones having previously forecast a 26 billion yen operating profit for the business.
Sony stuck to full-year forecasts of a 140 billion yen operating profit and a 50 billion yen net loss as new Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida leads a wide-reaching restructuring plan. Sony is axing thousands of white-collar jobs and cutting costs at its headquarters and in sales distribution companies. ($1 = 102.7200 Japanese Yen) (Reporting by Sophie Knight; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)