May 8, 2012 / 6:16 AM / in 6 years

Toshiba operating profit down 14 percent, sees rebound this year

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toshiba Corp, Japan’s leading chip maker, posted a 14 percent drop in annual operating profit, hit hard by a strong yen and slower demand due to the euro zone debt crisis.

A man walks past Toshiba Corp's Regza liquid-crystal display (LCD) televisions at an electronic store in Tokyo January 31, 2012. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Operating profit fell to 206.65 billion yen ($2.6 billion) in the year ended March 31, the electronics company said on Tuesday. That was a whisker below the consensus estimate of 208.7 billion yen in a survey of 22 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Toshiba said demand for its television sets and personal computers has remained weak, although the appetite for its flash memory chips from Apple Inc has increased.

For this fiscal year, Toshiba forecast operating profit may jump 45 percent to 300 billion yen, boosted by demand for Apple’s iPhones and iPads.

The profit outlook was above the mean estimate of 281.9 billion yen in a poll of 22 analysts.

Shares in Toshiba, which competes with Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor Inc in semiconductors and with GE and Areva in nuclear reactors, are up about 1 percent so far this year, compared with a rise of around 8 percent in the benchmark Nikkei. ($1 = 79.9200 Japanese yen)

Reporting by Mari Saito; Editing by Alex Richardson

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