Japan’s Toshiba first-quarter profit jumps 178 p.c.

By : |July 31, 2012 0

TOKYO, JAPAN: Japanese electronics conglomerate Toshiba Corp posted a better-than-expected 178 per cent rise in quarterly operating profit on Tuesday, boosted by strong overseas earnings in its social infrastructure division despite sluggish chip sales.

Toshiba, Japan’s leading chipmaker and the world’s No.2 maker of NAND flash memory chips, logged an operating profit of 11.47 billion yen ($147 million) in the April-June quarter, bouncing back from 4.12 billion yen in the same period last year, when Japanese corporate earnings were hit by the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

The results exceeded an average forecast of a 7.8 billion yen profit estimated by four analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Toshiba’s flagship NAND memory chips, the biggest single swing factor in the company’s results, are used in Apple Inc’s popular iPhones as well as fast-selling tablet devices.

But falling prices of USBs and memory cards, as well as oversupply in the market, have forced the Japanese chipmaker to cut back its NAND memory production by 30 percent.

Fellow flash memory maker SanDisk Corp said this month it expects NAND chip market conditions to improve in the second half of the year.

Toshiba’s electronic devices division, home to NAND memory chips, posted sales of 307.7 billion yen, down from 333.1 billion yen in the same period last year.

Toshiba, which manufactures products ranging from light bulbs and escalators to nuclear reactors and is the world’s No.2 NAND flash memory chip maker, has scaled back its loss-making television business to focus on large-scale infrastructure projects in emerging economies.

Toshiba, which said in May it aimed to more than double its annual operating profit in three years by expanding its social infrastructure business and boosting sales of electronic devices, held steady its forecast for an operating profit of 300 billion yen for the full year to March 2013.

Shares of Toshiba, which competes with Hynix Semiconductor Inc in semiconductors and with GE and Areva in nuclear reactors, ended up 2.3 per cent at 262 yen ahead of the results.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei closed up 0.69 per cent.

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