Toshiba Corp. on Monday posted a group net profit of 4.0 billion yen for the April-June period, improving from a group net loss of 8.9 billion yen the previous year thanks to brisk sales in flash-memory products.

It is the first time Toshiba’s net profit in the first quarter had been in the black since the company started disclosing quarterly financial results in fiscal 2001.

Toshiba said it reported an operating profit of 20.8 billion yen, recovering from 1.9 billion yen of operating loss the year before, on sales of 1.45 trillion yen, up 11.9 percent. The company’s pretax profit jumped to 21.9 billion yen from a pretax loss of 3.6 billion yen in the same period last year.

Toshiba’s semiconductor sales, including NAND-type flash-memory products mainly used in digital cameras and portable music players, increased 11 percent to 246 billion yen while operating profit rose to 20 billion yen from 14.8 billion yen the previous year.

Still, operating profit from semiconductors fell by half from the January-March quarter mainly because Apple Computer Inc. canceled flash memory orders for its iPod portable music player earlier this year, causing a rapid price fall.

However, Fumio Muraoka, Toshiba’s corporate executive vice president, said the company’s operating profit for semiconductors will jump to 56 billion yen in the second quarter due to increased sales of flash-memory packs for mobile phone handsets.

Hitachi losing less

Bloomberg Electronics firm Hitachi Ltd., which makes everything from computer chips and flat-panel televisions to nuclear power plants, narrowed its first-quarter loss from a year earlier because of good results from hard drives and displays.

Net loss in the three months ended June 30 was 22 billion yen, compared with 24.1 billion yen a year earlier, the company said Monday. Sales rose 9.8 percent to 2.25 trillion yen from 2.05 trillion yen.

Operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold and administrative expenses, rose 13-fold to 17.1 billion yen from 1.29 billion yen a year earlier, Hitachi said. It kept its annual sales and profit forecasts.

President Kazuo Furukawa, 59, pledged to return the company’s hard-disk drive, liquid-crystal display and flat-panel television units to profit this year.

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