TOKYO, April 28 (Reuters) - Sony Corp said on Friday it expects operating profit to rise 73.2 percent in the financial year through March 2018 as its cash-cow image sensor business recovers from earthquake damage that had suspended a key plant in southern Japan.
Sony forecasts operating profit to rise to 500 billion yen ($4.50 billion) from 288.7 billion yen a year prior, when earnings were roughly in line with a revised estimate announced earlier this month.
The outlook compared with the 510.58 billion yen average of 27 analyst estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.
If achieved, it would be the highest profit since its peak, of 525.7 billion, set in the year through March 1998, on strong sales of consumer electronics and a boost from box-office hit "Man in Black" as well as the popularity of the first PlayStation. ($1 = 111.1600 yen) (Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Christopher Cushing)