TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese conglomerate Toshiba Corp raised its annual operating profit forecast by 50 percent on Tuesday, saying it expects demand for its NAND flash memory chips to remain strong for the rest of the business year.
The group now expects an operating profit of 180 billion yen ($1.7 billion) for the year ending in March, slightly below an average forecast of 182 billion yen by 16 analysts. It had previously forecast a 120 billion yen profit.
The revision comes after Toshiba twice lifted its profit estimate for the April-September period, citing rising flash-memory chip prices for smartphones on the back of strong chip demand from Chinese smartphone makers.
"We expect this trend for the memory chip market to continue in the second half of the business year," Toshiba said in a statement.
The recovery in the global memory chip market is a much-needed boon for Toshiba, which is trying to turn itself into a leaner company focusing on NAND chips and nuclear energy following a $1.3 billion accounting scandal.
($1 = 104.7500 yen)
(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Susan Fenton)