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Hitachi Doubles April-June Net Profit

Improved sales push quarterly profits up over $89 million, though company warns of global market trouble on the horizon.

Japanese high-tech firm Hitachi (IW 1000/22) said Monday net profit almost doubled in the fiscal first quarter but warned about turmoil in the European market and a slowdown in China.

The firm said it earned $89.45 million in the three months to June, up from just $37.47 million a year earlier, on stronger sales in its construction machinery, power and automotive systems businesses.

Sales in the period were $27.11 billion, down about 1%.

"While nuclear power generation systems recorded lower sales, thermal power generation systems performed strongly," the company, which makes an array of goods from microchips to trains, said in a statement.

It also credited a rise in its domestic lift and escalator business and railways, adding that it had largely recovered from the pain of last year's quake-tsunami disaster, which pounded Japanese firms.

But "in terms of the overall business environment going forward, credit worries in Europe are expected to drag on, while at the same time there is a slowdown building in China and other emerging economies," it said.

Last week, Hitachi signed a deal to supply nearly 600 train carriages for Britain's inter-city rail project in a deal worth $7.06 billion, part of the Japanese firm's bid to shift from consumer products to large-scale infrastructure projects.

On Monday, Hitachi kept its fiscal year through March 2013 outlook unchanged, expecting to book a $2.56 billion net profit on sales of $116 billion.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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