TOKYO (Reuters) - Panasonic raised its full-year earnings forecast as expected, with strong sales of its automotive systems and eco-friendly technology powering its transformation into an industrial components supplier from a consumer electronics brand.
Panasonic Corp increased its operating profit forecast for the year to March to 270 billion yen ($2.75 billion) from a previous forecast of 250 billion yen. That compares with expectations of 268.2 billion yen, the average of 19 analyst estimates according to Thomson Reuters Starmine.
After a round of heavy restructuring that has seen Panasonic pull out of plasma TVs, smartphones and downsize its chipmaking segment, the Japanese company posted a net profit of 61.5 billion yen for the three months to September. That compares with the mean estimate of 60.92 billion yen, according to five analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Panasonic said on Wednesday it would sharply increase its supply lithium batteries to U.S. carmaker Tesla to nearly 2 billion cells in the four years to 2017, a big step up from the 200 million cells it is supposed to have provided over the two years to this December.
The deal is testament to the speed with which Panasonic has spun around its business after skipping its dividend a year earlier for the first time in six decades. It had suffered $15 billion in net losses over the previous two years.
The company has also been active in selling off assets, agreeing recently to the sale of 80 percent of its healthcare unit to U.S. buyout firm KKR & Co for 165 billion yen.
On Thursday, Panasonic also raised its full-year net profit forecast to 100 billion yen, against an average estimate of 75.52 billion yen, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine.
(Reporting by Sophie Knight; Editing by Ryan Woo)