TAIPEI (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 totaled 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.
(Reporting by J.R. Wu; Editing by Randy Fabi)