Nissan Motor Co has announced record operating profits of 825 billion yen ($US7.29 billion, €6.29 billion), up 11.9% for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2004.

The operating profit margin was 11.1%, reaffirming Nissan's position as one of the most profitable carmakers in the world. Despite a negative foreign exchange rate outlook, operating profits for fiscal year 2004 are forecast to continue to grow to a new record level.

Consolidated net revenues totaled 7.429 trillion yen ($65.6 billion, €56.6 billion), up 8.8%. Net profit after tax came to 503.7 billion yen ($US4.45 billion, €3.84 billion), up 1.7%. Return on invested capital reached a record 21.3%.

Nissan sold 3,057,000 vehicles worldwide in fiscal year 2003, an increase of 10.4%, or 287,000 units, surpassing the three million sales mark for the first time in 13 years.

President and CEO Carlos Ghosn unveiled highlights of Nissan Value-Up, the three-year business plan that will follow Nissan 180 in April 2005.

"Nissan 180 propelled us to the top performance rank of the world's carmakers. Nissan Value-Up will broaden and strengthen that position," said Ghosn.

The company's new three-year business plan commits to sustained growth, high profitability and return on investment. The plan's commitments are to reach annual global sales of 4.2 million units by the end of fiscal year 2007; to maintain an operating profit margin at the top level among global automakers; and to maintain a minimum 20% return on invested capital.

Nissan Value-Up will expand the company's worldwide presence. Infiniti will be launched as a global tier-one luxury brand. In total, 28 all-new Nissan and Infiniti models will be launched in markets around the world, supporting a strategy of significant geographic expansion.

Nissan's net automotive debt stood at 13.6 billion yen ($120 million, €103.7 million) at the end of fiscal year 2003 under new accounting standards.

As previously announced, Nissan's board of directors will propose a full-year 19 yen per share dividend at Nissan's next annual general shareholders' meeting on June 23, 2004.

Looking ahead, Nissan said business risks include adverse movements in foreign exchange rates and rising commodity prices and interest rates.

Based on this outlook and assuming foreign exchange rates of 105 yen/dollar and 125 yen/euro, Nissan filed the following forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005, with the Tokyo Stock Exchange: consolidated net revenues of 8.176 trillion yen; operating profit of 860 billion yen; ordinary profit of 846 billion yen; and net profit of 510 billion yen.