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Honda Profits Jump to $1.7 Billion

Sales soared 42.1%

Honda Motor (IW 1000/23) said Tuesday its net profit surged more than fourfold to $1.7 billion for the three months to June, underscoring a recovery from the impact of last year's quake-tsunami disasters.

The Japanese automaker posted a net profit of 131.7 billion yen (US$1.7 billion) for the April-June quarter, up from 31.8 billion yen for the same period last year.

Sales soared 42.1% to 2.44 trillion yen while operating profit jumped to 176.0 billion yen from 22.6 billion yen a year earlier, the company said.

The sales and profit gains were "due primarily to increased revenue in automobile business operations as production recovered from the effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake", the company said.

Honda left unchanged its full-year forecast, still projecting net profit at 470 billion yen on sales of 10.3 trillion yen for the fiscal year to March 2013.

"Strong sales of new models as well as a strong recovery from the supply chain disruption caused by the (natural disasters) contributed to a significant increase in profit in Japan and North America automobile operations," the company said..

It added that a boost in its Asian car and motorcycle business also helped the bottom line despite a still-weak European market.

Japanese automakers have come under pressure from the value of the currency, which last year hit record highs against the dollar and remains strong, making exports relatively more expensive overseas and cutting the value of repatriated earnings.

In April, Honda said its net profit for the fiscal year to March plunged 60.4% to 211.5 billion yen while its full-year sales were down 11.1% to 7.95 trillion yen.

Among Japan's biggest carmakers, Honda was hardest hit and the slowest to recover from last year's natural disasters. But Honda's results Tuesday were rosier than rival Nissan, which last week said its quarterly profit tumbled 15% as strong yen and weak European market dented earnings.

But Nissan, Japan's second-biggest automaker after Toyota, said its full-year forecast was on track. In its fiscal first-quarter through June, Nissan said its net profit fell to 72.3 billion yen on sales of 2.14 trillion yen, up 2.6%.

On Tuesday, smaller Japanese rival Mazda Motor reported a quarterly net loss of 6.46 billion yen, shrinking a year-earlier shortfall of 25.54 billion yen.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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