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Hino blames economy, Asian currency woes for eroding profits>

Hino Motors Ltd. on Wednesday said its profits for the first half of the
1997 business year were eroded by the sluggish domestic economy and the
recent Southeast Asia currency crisis that greatly affected Thailand.

The truck maker’s pretax profit in the half-year period dropped 24.6
percent from the same period last year to 3.5 billion yen. It managed to
increase its sales by 2.7 percent to 293.9 billion yen, helped by an 11.5
percent increase of orders from affiliate Toyota Motor Corp. Its operating
profit declined 34.2 percent to 2.4 billion yen.

Hino’s exports to Thailand usually account for about 40 percent of its
total truck exports. But sales in Thailand dropped sharply to 3,300 units
in the first half of this business year, compared with about 7,000 units in
the same period last year, according to the company.

However, with the relatively weak yen, the company managed to increase its
sales in countries such as the United States, Australia and Turkey, and its
overall exports posted a slight increase of 2 percent from a year ago.

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