Nissan Motor net profit rose 25% in its fiscal first half, boosted by improved sales volume and continued cost cuts, the Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The report said group net profit at Japan’s third-biggest automaker climbed 25% to ¥288 billion ($US2.39 billion), while group sales for the period rose 10% to ¥3.29 trillion.

Dow Jones said that, on an operating basis, the once-troubled company recorded its best-ever six-month group operating profit of ¥348.3 billion, an 85% surge from a year earlier.

Nissan, which is 44%-owned by Renault SA, said its global car sales increased 7.5% to 1.39 million units, underscoring a shift in the firm’s business focus to sales expansion from cost-cutting, Dow Jones said, adding that the company attributed the strong results to the impact of six new models launched during the latest six months, as well as its “March” (Micra) compact rolled out a few weeks before the start of the fiscal year.

For the year to the end of March, Nissan said it expects group net profit of ¥490 billion on sales of ¥6.8 trillion, Dow Jones added.

A statement from Renault said that, after restatement, the Nissan profit will contribute 910 million euros to Renault’s second-half net income for 2002 and 1,335 million euros for the full year.

From Nissan’s results statement:

Consolidated financial results:

Unit sales
Nissan’s global vehicle sales of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles for first half of fiscal year 2002 reached 1,386,000 units, compared to 1,289,000 units in the first half of fiscal year 2001.

Net sales
Consolidated net sales for the half year came to 3,285.5 billion yen (US $26.69 billion, euro 28.25 billion), an increase from 2,977.5 billion yen for the first half of fiscal year 2001.

Operating income
Consolidated operating profit rose 84.5% to 348.3 billion yen (US $2.83 billion, euro 2.99 billion) representing 10.6% of sales compared to 6.3% for the first half of fiscal year 2001.

Ordinary income
Consolidated ordinary profit came to 323.5 billion yen (US $2.63 billion, euro 2.78 billion), more than double last year’s level of 160.3 billion yen for the first half.

Income before taxes
Consolidated net income before taxes totaled 365.0 billion yen (US $2.97 billion, euro 3.14 billion) compared to 165.4 billion yen in the first half of fiscal year 2001.

Income taxes
Current income taxes for the period came to 79.3 billion yen (US $0.64 billion, euro 0.68 billion).

Net income
Consolidated net income after tax was 287.7 billion yen (US $2.34 billion, euro 2.47 billion) up 25% from the same period in fiscal year 2001.

Total consolidated debt was 2.58 trillion yen (US $20.96 billion, euro 22.18 billion) compared to 2.75 trillion yen at the end of fiscal year 2001. Consolidated net automotive indebtedness decreased by 161.6 billion yen from March 31, 2002, to 270.1 billion yen (US $2.19 billion, euro 2.32 billion).

Shareholder’s equity
Consolidated shareholder’s equity as of September 30, 2002, totaled 1,663.9 billion yen (US $13.52 billion, euro 14.31 billion), an increase of 43.1 billion yen compared to 1,620.8 billion yen as of March 31, 2002.

On October 23 Nissan revised the company’s full-year financial forecast for fiscal year 2002 with the Tokyo Stock Exchange.  Full-year revenues are expected to reach 6.8 trillion yen, operating profits to be 720 billion yen, yielding a 10.6% operating margin, ordinary profit will reach 660 billion yen, and the net profit after tax is expected to be 490 billion yen.  In addition, net automotive indebtedness is expected to fall to 80 billion yen by the end of the fiscal year.  The forecast for the second half is made with the assumption that the dollar will be at 125 yen and that the euro would reach 120 yen.