(Adds forecast, share price)
TOKYO, May 10 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikon Corp. (7731.T) said on Thursday its annual profit rose 53.2 percent, helped by strong demand for its advanced cameras, lenses and chip-making equipment.
Operating profit was 102.01 billion yen ($849.8 million) in the year ended March 31, up from 66.6 billion yen a year earlier. That compares with a mean market estimate of 99.1 billion yen based on 18 brokerages surveyed by Reuters Estimates.
Nikon has widened its popular digital single-lens reflex
(DSLR) camera line-up, especially lighter and smaller devices geared for new users and women, while focusing on profitability in simpler compact models rather than competing for market share.
For the year started in April, Nikon forecasts an operating profit of 100.00 billion yen, down 2 percent from the previous year. Analysts expect a profit of 100.9 billion yen from Nikon this year.
Tokyo-based Nikon is also the world’s No. 2 maker of chip steppers and competes against bigger rival Netherlands-based ASML (ASML.O) in the market for the complex machines used to print circuitry on silicon wafers.
Nikon shares have gained 11 percent this year, which compares with a 5.4 percent gain at camera rival Canon Inc. (7751.T), and Olympus’s 12.3 percent rise.
Nikon stock closed up 1.7 percent at 3,020 yen on Thursday before the company announced its results, while the Nikkei benchmark slipped 0.06 percent.
((Reporting by Aiko Wakao, editing by Mike Miller; Reuters messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org; Email: email@example.com; Tel:+81-3-3432-8595))
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