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Toshiba records losses

TOKYO, Jan 29 – Japanese high-tech giant Toshiba Corp. said Friday its net loss shrunk to 118 million dollars for the three months to December on a recovery in its memory chip business.

The Japanese firm said it suffered a group net loss of 10.63 billion yen (118 million dollars) for the October-December quarter, much narrower than a net loss of 121.14 billion yen a year earlier.

Its electric device business improved "substantially" after prices of flash memory chips stabilised, Toshiba said in a statement.

Toshiba\’s memory chip business, previously a drag on earnings, staged a sharp recovery on surging global demand for flash memory chips often used for mobile gadgets and other high-tech digital products.

Analysts say components makers are now racing to expand capacity after running down their inventories last year on expectations of a much longer economic downturn, as cheaper prices for consumer electronics drive demand.

Toshiba\’s operating profit for the third quarter stood at 10.22 billion yen, reversing the operating loss of 157.68 billion yen in the previous year. Revenue rose 6.1 percent to 1.58 trillion yen.

The company said cost-cutting efforts and strong demand for its nuclear power plant businesses contributed to the reduction in its loss. Toshiba owns US nuclear plant maker Westinghouse.

Toshiba downgraded its full-year sales forecast to 6.4 trillion yen from its earlier estimate of 6.8 trillion yen due to "the global recession, which has proved to be more persistent than expected," it said.

But it left its bottom line forecast unchanged, still projecting its net loss to 50 billion yen for the year to March 31. The firm also left its forecast of a 100 billion yen operating profit for the full year unchanged.

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Toshiba incurred its biggest-ever loss of 343.6 billion yen in the previous financial year and expects to remain mired in the red for the current fiscal year as its chip business continues to recover.

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