Bloomberg News

Nissan Profit to Drop 15% After Japan Quake Disrupts Output

June 23, 2011

(Updates with comment from investor in fourth paragraph.)

June 23 (Bloomberg) -- Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s second- largest automaker, expects full-year profit to fall 15 percent after the nation’s record earthquake disrupted production and sales while the yen strengthened.

Net income may decline to 270 billion yen ($3.4 billion) in the 12 months ending March 31 from 319.2 billion yen a year earlier, the Yokohama-based company said in a statement today. The projection is higher than the 237 billion yen average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg in the past 28 days.

Japanese automakers are boosting production as they recover from the March 11 natural disaster that damaged car factories and parts plants, leading to a 60 percent plunge in domestic vehicle output in April. Nissan expects to resume full production globally by October.

“Nissan can’t expect much profit from Japan because of the quake, or from North America, because the major indicators like GDP and the unemployment rate aren’t very positive,” said Yuuki Sakurai, president at Fukoku Capital Management Inc. in Tokyo. “Nissan should try to expand in China, Russia and other emerging markets.”

Nissan’s global vehicle sales may rise 9.9 percent to 4.6 million this fiscal year, the company said. Revenue may increase to 9.4 trillion yen from 8.77 trillion yen a year earlier.

China Sales

The automaker’s sales in China may rise 12 percent to 1.15 million vehicles, while North American sales may gain 6.8 percent to 1.33 million, Nissan said. Deliveries in Japan are expected to grow 1.7 percent to 610,000, while those in Europe may gain 10 percent to 670,000, the company said.

Nissan said it plans to double its shareholder dividend to 20 yen this fiscal year.

Carmakers are hiring temporary workers to help fill back orders as output recovers. Toyota Motor Corp. plans to hire as many as 4,000 people from mid-July as it prepares to ramp up production in October. Nissan plans to hire 1,000 temporary workers from August, in addition to 200 previously announced, Corporate Vice President Joji Tagawa said.

Nissan aims to add extra days of operation in July to recover lost output, the company said earlier this week.

Localizing Production

Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn said yesterday that plans to localize production of components such as engines and transmissions in various markets are facing less resistance within Nissan after the earthquake. Disruptions following the March disaster affected output at overseas plants as well as Japanese ones.

A Nissan engine factory in Fukushima prefecture was damaged in the earthquake and was shut until April 17.

Nissan expects full-year operating profit to drop 14 percent to 460 billion yen. Higher selling expenses and marketing may cut operating profit by 112 billion yen, while the strengthened yen, which reduces the repatriated value of Nissan’s overseas earnings, may trim operating profit by 135 billion yen, the company said.

The Japanese currency advanced 15 percent against the U.S. dollar last year and reached a postwar record of 76.25 on March 17. Nissan is basing this year’s profit forecast on an exchange rate of 80 yen to the dollar and 115 yen to the euro this fiscal year.

Full-year profit at Toyota, Japan’s biggest carmaker, may decline 31 percent to 280 billion yen in the year started April 1 as global vehicle sales decrease 0.9 percent to 7.24 million, the Toyota City-based company said June 10.

Nissan rose 1.3 percent to 839 yen as of the 3 p.m. close of trading in Tokyo, before the announcement. The shares have gained 8.5 percent this year.

--With assistance from Anna Mukai in Tokyo. Editors: Kae Inoue, Terje Langeland

To contact the reporter on this story: Makiko Kitamura in Tokyo at mkitamura1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kae Inoue at kinoue@bloomberg.net


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