Nissan sees sales momentum lifting profits this FY

Nissan’s new Sylphy is displayed at Auto China 2012 in Beijing. — Reuters picNissan’s new Sylphy is displayed at Auto China 2012 in Beijing. — Reuters picYOKOHAMA, May 11 — Nissan Motor Co posted today a one-third jump in quarterly profit and projected a 28 per cent 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 per cent to ¥118.1 billion (RM4.6 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 per cent to ¥75.3 billion.

For the year to next March, Nissan projected an operating profit of ¥700 billion and net profit of ¥400 billion.

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 US$44 billion and 43.4 per cent-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 per cent, in operating profit to ¥545.84 billion, compared with a 60 per cent decline at Honda and 24 per cent drop at Toyota.

The maker of the popular Tiida and Rogue models pushed up global retail sales by 15 per cent 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 per cent year-to-date, about half the increase Toyota has seen, and lagging Honda’s 16 per cent gain. — Reuters


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