Toyota Q4 net profit soars as supply chains recover
Tokyo: Toyota Motor Corp said Wednesday its net profit grew nearly five-fold in the fiscal fourth quarter, as it ramped up production after supply networks hit by last year's earthquake in Japan and flooding in Thailand came fully back online.
With its manufacturing capacity restored, the Japanese auto giant is sounding upbeat about a recovery in this fiscal year through March 2013, predicting that its net profit will more than double from a year earlier.
Toyota recorded a net profit of Y121.0 billion in the three months ended March, up from Y25.4 billion a year earlier and marking the first quarterly growth in six quarters.
The result beat analysts' estimates for a Y112.9 billion net profit compiled by data provider FactSet.
The Japanese company forecasts that its net profit will more than double to Y760 billion in the current fiscal year through March. In the just-ended fiscal year, Toyota's net profit dropped 30.5% to Y283.56 billion.
Sales for this fiscal year are seen up 18.4 percent at Y22.000 trillion, while operating profit is expected to nearly triple to Y1.000 trillion.
The outlook is based on the assumption that the dollar will average Y80 and the euro Y105 this fiscal year.
The upbeat outlook comes after a series of difficult challenges for Toyota over the last few years, including high-profile quality-control issues and natural disasters at home and abroad. The Japanese company ceded the title of world's biggest auto maker to General Motors Co. (GM) last year.
Toyota, Japan's biggest car maker by volume, joins Honda Motor Co. in projecting a substantial turnaround in the current fiscal year, underscoring how Japan's auto industry aims to win back customers lost to US, German and South Korean rivals.
Honda, Japan's third biggest car maker by volume, in late April reported a 61 percent jump in net profit and said it expects its net profit will more than double to Y470 billion for this fiscal year.
Analysts expect Nissan Motor Co. to join its two major local rivals in forecasting a bright profit outlook when it releases January-March results and its projection for the year this Friday.
In the quarter ended March, Toyota's sales rose 23 percent to Y5.703 trillion from Y4.642 trillion. Operating profit soared more than five-fold to Y238.5 billion from Y46.1 billion.
Toyota reports its earnings under US accounting standards.