Toshiba Q3 profit surges on smartphone boom

Toshiba posted a 37.5 billion yen ($456.8 million) profit for the three months ending December 31. (REUTERS)

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 37.5 billion yen ($456.8 million) profit for the three months ending December 31, compared with 14.5 billion yen in the same period the previous year. In the quarter electronic devices, including LCDs and flash memory, generated 17.2 billion yen in operating income after a loss 6.6 billion yen a year earlier.

Still, 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 5 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Toshiba left its full year operating profit forecast unchanged at 250 billion yen, compared with an average estimate of 269.9 billion yen based on 22 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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

Toshiba also benefited 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.

Shares in Toshiba rose to their highest level in more than eight months last week, but fell 3.2 percent on Monday to 485 yen, ahead of the earnings report. That compares with a 1.2 percent fall in the Nikkei stock average.

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