(Corrects reference to sale of Westinghouse Electric stake in
paragraph 11 to say a minority stake could be sold)
* Firm eyes 700 bln yen NAND chip sales in 2015/16
* Toshiba says buyers interested in Westinghouse stake
* Toshiba eyes capex of 1.4 trln yen to March 2015
TOKYO, May 17 Japan's Toshiba Corp said
on Thursday it aims to more than double its annual operating
profit in three years to $5.6 billion, by expanding its social
infrastructure business and boosting sales of electronics
The electronics conglomerate, whose television sales have
been sliding along with those of rivals Sony Corp,
Panasonic Corp and Sharp Corp, has been buoyed
by strong sales of Apple Inc's iPhones, which use
Toshiba's NAND flash chips.
The world's No.2 maker of NAND flash chips, behind Samsung
Electronics, Toshiba forecast NAND chip sales of 700
billion yen in the 2015/16 business year.
Shares of Toshiba Corp jumped 5.6 percent to 322
yen after the release of its mid-term business plan, outpacing a
0.9 percent rise in the Nikkei, and partly retracing a steep
fall from levels above 380 yen in recent weeks.
Toshiba said its annual operating profit was likely to reach
450 billion yen ($5.6 billion) by the year ending March 2015, up
from 206.7 billion yen for the year ended March 2012.
The company said earlier on Thursday that it has halted
domestic production of LCD televisions in the face of price
falls, following a similar decision by Hitachi Corp.
"We have shut down our domestic TV production. We are
looking at all areas (of the TV business), number of models,
numbers of panels, in order to re-strengthen this division,"
Toshiba president and CEO Norio Sasaki told reporters.
He added that the firm was shifting its focus to emerging
economies and growing markets after domestic demand for TVs fell
more than expected in the previous year.
Toshiba said sales for its digital products division, home
to its loss-making LCD TVs, would reach 200 billion yen in
business year 2015/16.
However, it pushed back its 1 trillion yen sales target for
the nuclear power business for two years to 2017/18, following
the Fukushima radiation disaster and stricter atomic regulations
in the United States.
The firm also said it has been approached by several
potential buyers interested in a stake in U.S. nuclear power
company Westinghouse Electric, in which it has majority
ownership. Sasaki was speaking about a 20 percent stake that
U.S.-based Shaw Group plans to sell back to Toshiba by next
Toshiba said in its business plan that capital spending for
the three years to March 2015 would be about 1.4 trillion yen,
and it planned to spend around 1.1 trillion yen on research and
development during the same period.
Sasaki also said that he wants to strengthen alliances with
Toshiba's partners to expand its "smart community business",
which helps energy users efficiently manage their power usage.
Last year, Toshiba bought Swiss-based Landis+Gyr in a deal
valued at $2.3 billion in an effort to move into the promising
overseas smart grid market, designed to accommodate a range of
power generation options and give real-time information on
Toshiba last week forecast an annual operating profit of 300
billion yen ($3.75 billion) for the business year ending March
2013, buoyed by strong sales of its flash NAND memory chips.
($1 = 80.3550 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Mari Saito, writing by Yoko Kubota; Editing by