Nissan Motor on Thursday reported a 15% year on year rise in group operating profit to Y401.13 billion, a record high for the seventh half-year period in succession, helped by strong US sales and cost-cutting efforts, Dow Jones reported.

Nissan posted a group operating profit of Y348.30 billion in the first half of last year, the report noted, adding that group net profit fell 17% to Y237.68 billion for the six months ended Sept. 30 from Y287.71 billion in the same period last year, when net profit was boosted by a one-time gain from the sale of a major production site and by a lower effective tax rate.

Group net profit would have risen 15% on year in the absence of those factors, Toru Yokoyama, head of Nissan's accounting department, told Dow Jones.

Nissan, an affiliate of Renault SA , had sales of Y3.556 trillion in the latest half, up 8.2% from Y3.285 trillion a year earlier, Dow Jones said.

A string of successful new models helped boost Nissan's global car sales volume 5.9% year on year to 1.467 million vehicles in the interim period, the report said.

Sales volume in the US rose 11% to 420,000 vehicles, boosting its regional market share by 0.5% from a year earlier to 4.7%, while domestic sales, including mini-cars, edged up 0.9% to 387,000 units, Dow Jones said, adding that European sales in the January-June period rose 6.6% to 267,000 units, lifting Nissan's market share there to 2.7% from 2.5%.

According to Dow Jones, Yokoyama said foreign exchange rates didn't have any impact on its operating profits as the impact of the weak US dollar was offset by favourable rates of the euro and the Australian dollar against the yen.

Procurement cost reduction boosted operating profit by Y92.3 billion in the first half, Dow Jones said, adding that Nissan maintained its full-year earnings forecast unchanged despite a worldwide recall of 2.56 million vehicles in late October for a technical malfunction.

Nissan projects a group net profit of Y495 billion, flat from Y495.17 billion in the last fiscal year, and an operating profit of Y820 billion, up 11.2% from Y737.23 billion while expecting sales to rise 9.1% to Y7.450 trillion from Y6.829 trillion, Dow Jones said.

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