Japan's Listed Firms See Profit Gain A New High

The combined ordinary profit of Japan's listed companies is expected to grow 7.3% in the year to March, hitting a record high for the third straight term, a press report said Feb. 12. The gain was led by carmakers, boosted by brisk global sales of new models and a stronger dollar, and the electronics sector, which had earlier forecast a profit decline, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun business daily said.

The total, combining "recurring" group profits at companies using Japanese accounting standards and "pretax" group profits at companies using U.S. accounting standards, is estimated at 26.99 trillion yen (US$227 billion) in the business year. The survey covered 1,592 companies which close their annual accounts on March 31. It did not include financial institutions or companies listed on Japan's three new stock markets for start-up ventures.

The auto sector's recurring or pretax profit in the year to March is expected to rise 15%, an eight-point improvement from projections at the time of interim earnings reports. Honda Motor Co. raised its pretax profit forecast by 170 billion yen, more than half of which is due to a weaker-than-expected yen, while Mazda Motor Corp.'s pretax profit outlook was increased 15 billion yen.

The electronics sector, which had forecast pretax profit to decline in the year, now was forecast to see a two-percent rise, the report said. Such hit products as flat-panel televisions have underpinned earnings upgrades by Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.

On the other hand, the surge in crude oil prices has led gas companies and marine transport firms to lower their earnings forecasts, Nihon Keizai said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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