by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Feb 8, 2012
Japanese car giant Nissan on Wednesday bucked the national trend in falling auto profits, saying its third-quarter results were up on year as solid global sales offset the impact of a strong yen.
The company said profits rose 3.2 percent to 82.67 billion yen ($1.07 billion) in the three months to December, during a quarter dominated for automakers by the high Japanese currency and record flooding in Thailand.
Nissan said sales grew 11.0 percent to 2.33 trillion yen in the quarter, up from 2.10 trillion a year earlier.
Nissan's results were in stark contrast with those of fellow Japanese auto titans Toyota and Honda, which both reported dips in profits for the quarter.
"Significant external headwinds such as the abnormally strong yen and floods in Thailand challenged us during the third quarter," Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said in a statement.
"Nissan responded decisively to these challenges...I am confident that Nissan will deliver the full-year profitability targets."
The carmaker, which is 44.3 percent owned by France's Renault, said it sold 1.205 million vehicles worldwide in the quarter, up 19.5 percent from a year ago.
Nissan kept its full-year net profit forecast at 290 billion yen and its sales outlook at 9.45 trillion yen.
The chances of the carmaker hitting those targets appear to have been buoyed by performance in the latter half of the year.
Nine-month figures show profits stumbling, at 266.10 billion yen, down 7.7 percent from a year earlier.
Nissan logged 6.70 trillion yen in sales during the three quarters, up 4.3 percent on year, with operating profit at 427.76 billion yen, down 4.7 percent from a year earlier.
The first six months of 2011 were torrid for Japan's manufacturers, with the lingering impact of the March earthquake-tsunami hamstringing production lines and electricity-saving measures squeezing capacity.
Nissan, Toyota and Honda all slashed production and shuttered plants because of power shortages and a component supply crunch.
However Nissan's recovery outpaced its peers, with the company boosting production levels from a year ago.
All Japanese exporters are battling the crippling effects of a sky-high yen, which makes their products more expensive overseas and erodes repatriated profits.
Flooding in Thailand that created a component shortage also proved a drag.
Toyota on Tuesday reported net profit for the latest quarter shrank 13.5 percent to 80.94 billion yen from the previous year, although its sales grew 4.1 percent and operating profit jumped 51.1 percent.
Honda said last month that its net profit for the same quarter was down more than 40.0 percent with sales off 8.6 percent.
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