Mazda Motor Corporation has revised it 2006 full-year forecast upwards after achieving record revenue, operating profit and ordinary profit in the first half of the fiscal year.

Consolidated revenue is projected to increase by 8% year-on-year to 3.15 trillion yen, with full-year operating profit expected to rise 20% to 148bn yen, and consolidated net income up 23% to 82bn yen.

The Ford-controlled automaker's consolidated revenue increased 13% in the April-September period to 1.52 trillion yen.

In spite of a rapid rise in the cost of raw materials, consolidated operating profit rose 43% year-on-year to 69.8bn yen, a 21bn yen improvement, largely supported by an improved model mix and volume, favourable currency exchange rates and cost reductions.

Ordinary profit increased 31% to 56.6bn yen compared to the same period last year. Net income was 27.2bn yen, down 12% year-on-year, due to an extraordinary gain during the first half of the last fiscal year from the transfer of the substitutional portion of Mazda's employee pension fund liabilities to the Japanese government.

Excluding the one-time impact of the gain from the pension fund transfer and impairment losses, net income was up 18%.

Despite steady micro-mini sales in Japan, Mazda's sales volume during the first half of FY2006 declined by 7% to 131,000 units, mainly due to diminished demand.

In the US, sales increased 3% to 142,000 units, attributable to the newly-launched CX-7 crossover and contributions from the 5 and MX-5 models.

Strong sales of the 5 and MX-5 in Europe led to 151,000 units sold there during the April-September period, an increase of 10% year-on-year. Sales in China declined 8% to 62,000 units in the first half amid a very competitive sales environment. Overall, Mazda recorded 560,000 consolidated global wholesales for the first half of FY2006, up 1% over last year.

Mazda is now forecasting a rise of 3% in global wholesales to 1.18m units in FY2006 following a downward revision since the last financial projections were released.

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