TAIPEI, March 31 (Reuters) - Taiwan’s Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker and a key Apple Inc supplier, on Friday reported 30 percent growth in fourth quarter net profit from a year ago, defying expectations for a decline.
The profit was likely to have been boosted by solid bookings for Apple’s bigger-sized iPhone 7 models, which Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co assembles, analysts said.
Net profit in the final three months of 2016 ended four quarters of year-on-year declines to reach T$68.77 billion ($2.26 billion), up from T$52.93 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to a Reuters calculation based on Foxconn’s full year 2016 results.
It was well ahead of the T$48.78 billion forecast by analysts polled by Reuters and double the T$34.64 billion recorded in the third quarter of 2016.
For 2016 as a whole, Foxconn’s net profit totalled T$148.7 billion, up 1.2 percent from 2015, the company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Friday.
Foxconn did not break out its fourth quarter figures and did not elaborate on its results.
Analysts see a brighter year for Foxconn in 2017, following a turnaround at its majority-owned Sharp Corp, more orders expected for the bigger-sized iPhone 7 models, and the expected launch of the 10th anniversary iPhone later this year.
Foxconn’s quarterly net profits had been expected to grow again year-on-year from the first quarter of this year, analysts said.
The outlook comes as Foxconn is looking at Toshiba Corp’s chip business, as potentially its next big purchase after taking a majority stake in Sharp last year.
Last month, Japanese display maker Sharp lifted its full-year profit guidance after posting its first quarterly net profit in more than two years .
Foxconn’s profit gain came despite revenue falling last year by 2.8 percent, the first decline since the company listed shares on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in 1991, according to company information. ($1 = 30.3830 Taiwan dollars) (Reporting by J.R. Wu; Editing by Randy Fabi)