Tue, Aug 13, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Japanese firms post big quarterly profits


Major Japanese firms wrapped up the latest earnings season on a high note, more than doubling their net profit in the three months to June, a new report showed yesterday.

Brokerage SMBC Nikko Securities said its review of company financial results showed combined net profits surged about 112 percent from the April-to-June quarter a year earlier, while operating profit jumped 33 percent among some of the nation’s biggest names.

A pick-up in consumer spending and a sharp decline in the yen, which makes exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp and Sony Corp more competitive overseas, were behind the booster profits, the company said.

“The profit gains were mainly due to a positive effect of the weak yen,” SMBC Nikko Securities analyst Kayoko Ota said.

“Recovering domestic demand and steady growth in North America were also major factors,” Ota said.

Ota also said the good times were likely to last with many firms raising their fiscal full-year (ending March next year) profit and sales forecasts.

“They’re expected to stay on course to recovery,” she added.

The SMBC report, which looked at nearly 500 companies on Tokyo’s broad-based TOPIX, found that manufacturers saw the biggest increases in profit.

Toyota’s earnings almost doubled to a record US$5.64 billion in the April-to-June quarter, with the firm on track to produce more than 10 million vehicles worldwide this year, it said.

The world’s biggest automaker has ramped up its bid to tap emerging markets, while key US demand has also been on the upswing, helping Toyota book ever-increasing profits over the past year.

The Camry and Corolla maker, like rivals Honda Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co, benefited from a slump in the Japanese currency since late last year as it inflates the value of income earned overseas when it is converted back into yen.

The cheaper yen helped Toshiba Corp swing back to profitability in the quarter, while the top three banks booked gains as a surge in the stock market boosted trading businesses and investment holdings.

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