Nissan sales momentum to lift profits
Tokyo, May 11, 2012
Nissan Motor Co posted on Friday a one-third jump in quarterly profit and projected a 28 percent rise in the year ahead driven by brisk sales momentum in emerging markets.
January-March operating profit at Japan's No.2 automaker rose 33 percent to 118.1 billion yen ($1.48 billion), against an average estimate of 120 billion yen from 20 analysts polled in the past 90 days by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net profit for Nissan's fourth-quarter grew 145 percent to 75.3 billion yen. For the year to next March, Nissan projected an operating profit of 700 billion yen and net profit of 400 billion yen.
Nissan has outshone domestic rivals Honda Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp in the past year as CEO Carlos Ghosn has pushed aggressively into fast-growing markets such as China and Russia.
Nissan, valued at $44 billion and 43.4 percent-held by France's Renault SA, has also recovered its supply chain faster than its competitors after last year's earthquake and tsunami and widespread flooding in Thailand. It has also been more ruthless in replacing more of the parts for the cars it makes in Japan with imported components, taking advantage of the strong yen.
For the year to end-March, Nissan managed a slight rise, of 1.6 percent, in operating profit to 545.84 billion yen, compared with a 60 percent decline at Honda and 24 percent drop at Toyota.
The maker of the popular Tiida and Rogue models pushed up global retail sales by 15 percent last year to a record 4.88 million vehicles, with demand growing in all major markets including a crisis-hit Europe.
Nissan executives have said they expect to keep up that momentum, with the launch of one all-new or face-lifted model on average every six weeks until March 2017, including the next generations of the high-volume Altima, Sentra and Versa cars in the United States.
In Russia, Renault-Nissan last week signed a long-awaited deal that would give them effective control of Lada maker AvtoVAZ, creating a group that would rank third in global sales behind General Motors Co and Volkswagen , and ahead of Toyota.
Nissan shares are up more than 12 percent year-to-date, about half the increase Toyota has seen, and lagging Honda's 16 percent gain. - Reuters
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