Nissan annual profit rises on strong US, China, Europe sales

By YURI KAGEYAMA Markets Associated Press

Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co.'s profit rose by 27 percent in the fiscal year that ended in March to 663.5 billion yen ($5.8 billion), as strong sales in the U.S., China and Europe and the sale of its stake in a parts maker offset damage from the strong yen, the company said Thursday.

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But Nissan is forecasting a 19 percent drop in profit in the current fiscal year through March 2018 to 535 billion yen ($4.7 billion) because it won't have the boost from the previous fiscal year's sale of parts maker Calsonic Kansei, while research and raw material expenses are expected to bite into bigger sales and cost-cutting efforts.

It said sales for the fiscal year that ended in March 2017 dipped nearly 4 percent to 11.7 trillion yen ($103 billion).

Nissan, which did not break down quarterly numbers, said it sold 5.63 million vehicles globally in the last fiscal year. It expects sales to grow to 5.83 million vehicles in the fiscal year through March 2018.

Yokohama-based Nissan's U.S. sales rose 4 percent on-year on solid demand for the Rogue and Altima sedan. Sales in China rose 8 percent, while sales in Europe excluding Russia rose 7 percent for Nissan, which is allied with Renault SA of France.

All major automakers are working on autonomous driving and mobility connectivity technologies, but Nissan, which makes the Leaf electric car and Infiniti luxury models, has been among the most aggressive.

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Hurting Nissan's bottom line in recent years is an unfavorable exchange rate. A strong yen erodes the value of overseas earnings by Japanese exporters like Nissan.

Toyota reported Wednesday its profit fell in the fiscal year that ended in March, its first annual profit drop in five years. Toyota expects its profit to drop in the fiscal year through March 2018 as well.

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