TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Canon Inc on Wednesday lifted its full-year operating profit forecast after reporting strong first-quarter results on the back of earnings from a medical equipment unit it bought from Toshiba Corp last year.
The camera and printer maker forecast profit of 270 billion yen ($2.43 billion), up from 255 billion yen estimated in January. It reported profit of 228.9 billion in the previous twelve months.
The upbeat outlook suggests Canon's strategy to diversify has begun to reward the company after the $5.8 billion acquisition of the Toshiba unit and the $2.8 billion takeover of Swedish video-surveillance firm Axis AB.
Canon also said the two existing businesses that have long dragged its earnings - laser printers and cameras - are also showing signs of bottoming out.
A recovery in the Chinese and other emerging economies is pushing up demand for laser printers, while continued popularity of so-called mirrorless cameras is driving camera sales, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Toshizo Tanaka said at an earnings briefing.
For the January-March quarter, Canon said operating profit jumped 88.8 percent to 75.67 billion yen from 40.09 billion yen a year earlier.
That was above a consensus estimate of 58.80 billion yen from six analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Tanaka also said the company is not in a situation to consider joining the bidding for Toshiba's prized flash memory unit.
Toshiba wants to sell most or all of the unit, the world's second-largest NAND chip maker behind Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. It has narrowed bidders to SK Hynix Inc, Western Digital Corp, Broadcom Ltd and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (Foxconn), people familiar with the process have told Reuters.
To keep the technology in Japan, however, the government is calling for domestic companies to join the bidding and team up with state-backed funds, sources have said.
(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Christopher Cushing)