Crisis-hit Japanese carmaker Nissan upgraded its annual outlook Wednesday, projecting a return to the black, after a strong first quarter performance fuelled by a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Nissan now forecasts a 60 billion yen ($546 million) net profit for the year to March 2022, compared with its earlier estimate of a 60 billion yen net loss.

For the three months to June, the firm logged a 114.5 billion yen net profit, compared with a 285.6 billion yen net loss in the same period last year.

It also tipped stronger annual sales after its quarterly sales surged 71 percent to 2.0 trillion yen.

Nissan is optimistic about the outlook, though it could suffer headwinds owing to a global microchip shortage Nissan is optimistic about the outlook, though it could suffer headwinds owing to a global microchip shortage Photo: AFP / Philip FONG

In the year to March 2021, Nissan had trimmed its annual loss after weathering the impact of virus lockdowns but stopped short of turning a profit.

The firm has faced a series of trials in recent years, from weak demand during the pandemic to the fallout from the arrest of former boss Carlos Ghosn, now an international fugitive after jumping bail and fleeing Japan.

CEO Makoto Uchida told shareholders in June: "Our businesses are on a recovery path. We are working to avoid a net loss for the first straight year."

Nissan could still return to the black in the current fiscal year, analysts say, but the global chip shortage may cloud its outlook.

Supply disruptions including a fire at a Japanese factory, an extreme cold snap in the United States and a drought in Taiwan have compounded the mismatch between demand for and availability of chips.