Major automakers post profit gains

Benefiting largely from the yen’s fall against other major currencies, Japan’s five major automakers enjoyed profit increases for the 1996 business year that ended March 31, financial results show.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. posted May 29 record high unconsolidated pretax profits, of 58.04 billion yen, up 4.8 percent from the previous year. Operating profits, however, dropped 8.4 percent to 57.15 billion yen, the company said. Its unconsolidated sales income rose 2.5 percent to 2.59 trillion yen, thanks to the weaker yen, and the company estimates that the weaker yen helped generate a 64.4 billion yen windfall.

Mitsubishi also accepted an extraordinary valuation losses of 43.2 billion yen on its investment in Mitsubishi Motors Sales of America Inc., the company’s distribution subsidiary in the U.S., which negatively affected the company’s pretax profit for the period. The other four automakers announced profit increases for the 1996 business year, citing high sales and increased exports.