Toshiba profit surge fuelled by smartphones

Japan's Toshiba Corp said third quarter operating profit more than doubled on buoyant sales of NAND flash memory and liquid-crystal displays used in tablets and smartphones including Apple's iPad and iPhone.

The world's second largest supplier of NAND chips kept its full year operating profit forecast unchanged, but lifted its net and pretax profit estimates.

South Korean rival Samsung Electronics is also expected to benefit this year from booming demand for smartphones and tablets, after it reported its weakest profit in six quarters last week.

Toshiba posted a 37.5bn yen (£287.6m) profit for the three months to 31 December compared with 14.5bn yen in the same period the previous year. 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 earlier.

However, Toshiba's performance was not as strong as analysts had expected, coming in lower than the average forecast of 50.2 billion yen in a survey of five analysts by Thomson Reuters.

It lifted its net profit forecast to 100bn yen from 70bn yen.

Toshiba also benefitted from better than expected sales of televisions, after the Japanese government offered consumers incentives to buy sets that consume less power, the head of Toshiba's TV unit said earlier this month.

Toshiba, which also competes with Hewlett-Packard and Dell in personal computers, makes products ranging from nuclear power plants to household appliances.