Sony Expects its Mobile CIS Business to Return to Growth in 1-2 Years

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SeekingAlpha publishes Sony earnings call transcript that gives few more details about the company's CIS business. Sony expects its mobile image sensor business to get back to the growth trajectory in the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2023:

"FY 2020 Q3 sales decreased 10% year-on-year to JPY 266.9 billion, primarily due to lower sales of image sensors for mobile. Operating income decreased by JPY 24.8 billion to JPY 50.4 billion, primarily due to the impact of the decrease in sales and an increase in research and development expenses and depreciation.

In September of last year, we terminated shipments of mobile image sensors to a certain major Chinese customer, but we resumed a portion of shipments to that customer from late November. Although we have incorporated the impact of this resumption into our forecast for the current fiscal year, we expect sales to the customer to decrease significantly year-on-year. As a result of the resumption of shipments, we reversed JPY 8.5 billion of approximately JPY 17.5 billion write-down of finished goods and work-in-progress inventory for the customer that we recorded at the end of the previous quarter.

Now I will explain the fiscal year forecast we issued today. Orders from our other major non-Chinese customer have significantly exceeded the assumption we made in our October forecast, and we have reflected that fact in the current forecast for the fiscal year.

As I mentioned at the last earnings announcement, we are striving to recover market share through an increase in sales of general-purpose sensors, and we are working to expand and diversify our customer base. In order to maximize business opportunities in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, and optimize investment efficiency, we have decided to increase utilization of our existing production capacity in FY 2020 fourth quarter and we will be stockpiling a certain level of inventory.

And we have incorporated into our FY 2020 profit forecast, the utilization profit we expect to generate from stockpiling this inventory. Over the mid-range, we are developing products and engaging with customers to increase the sales of high value-added products with the aim of recovering the profitability of the mobile image sensor business and returning it to growth from the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023."

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