Phone chip boost for Toshiba

City A.M. Reporter
JAPAN’S Toshiba more than doubled its quarterly operating profit on booming sales of NAND flash memory chips and robust demand for LCD panels used in smartphones and tablets.

But the sprawling conglomerate cut its full year sales forecast and left its operating profit outlook unchanged for the year to March, citing a strong yen and uncertain demand for some of its other products, which include everything from home appliances to nuclear power plants.

For the three months to 31 December, Toshiba reported a 37.5bn (£286m) yen profit, compared with 14.5bn yen a year ago. In the quarter, electronic devices, including LCDs and flash memory, generated 17.2bn yen in operating income after a loss 6.6bn yen a year ago.

Overall performance, however, was not as strong as analysts had expected with the profit coming in lower than the average forecast of 50.2bn yen.

Toshiba’s full year profit on NAND chips is expected to be more than the company had foreseen at the start of the financial year, as profit margins improve after sagging in the third quarter, Fumio Muraoka, a senior executive at Toshiba said yesterday.

But the overall outlook is less certain, the company said in a statement, with the market for system chips weak.

Toshiba chief executive Norio Sasaki (pictured), who took the helm 18 months ago, has vowed to sharpen the focus of the company and has taken a hard line on costs, with rival Samsung firmly in his sights.