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Two Japan Railway group companies on Monday reported a rise in their unconsolidated pretax profits during the first half of fiscal 1999, despite declines in total revenues.

East Japan Railway Co. said that its pretax profit rose 29.2 percent from the same period last year to 76.3 billion yen, and its net profit also increased 79.6 percent from the previous year to 43.7 billion yen.

Its unconsolidated operating profit of 180 billion yen for the April-September period is up 8 percent from the same period last year. Company officials attributed the increase to reduced business costs.

However, its sales were 949.6 billion yen, down 1.4 percent from the same period last year, because of decreased income from bullet train services, company officials said.

JR East expects its pretax profit to grow 4.9 percent to 104 billion yen in the current business year ending in March, 2000.

Meanwhile, Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) reported its pretax profit of 42.3 billion yen, up 11.8 percent from the same period last year. Its net profit rose 33.5 percent from the previous year to 24.8 billion yen, the railway firm said.

The Nagoya-based railway operator posted an unconsolidated operating profit of 167 billion yen, down 6.2 percent from the previous year, and its sales decreased 2.3 percent from a year earlier to 545.9 billion yen.

JR Tokai officials said the number of bullet train users between Tokyo and Osaka decreased because of the sluggish economy and intensifying competition between railway and air transportation.

For the full year to March 2000, officials expect pretax profit to fall 3.5 percent to 69.7 billion yen, the first drop in two years.

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