Cellular giant NTT DoCoMo Inc. on Wednesday reported handsome profits for fiscal 2000, and Toyota Motor Corp. appeared set to break an earnings record.

NTT DoCoMo said it had net profits of 365.5 billion yen for the 12 months to March 31, up 45 percent from the previous fiscal year, due to its popular i-mode service.

NTT DoCoMo, an affiliate of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., also logged a group pretax profit of 686.92 billion yen, up 36.5 percent, on operating revenues of 4.686 trillion yen, up 26 percent.

Per-share net profit shot up to 37,983.95 yen from 26,330.41 yen.

NTT DoCoMo, a leader in mobile technology, said the impressive performance is due to brisk demand for its i-mode service, which allows limited Internet access and e-mail capabilities.

The carrier continued to sign up new subscribers at a rapid pace during the year. At the end of March, it had 36.03 million users, a 22.7 percent increase over the previous year.

Of the total, 21.7 million are also i-mode subscribers.

Revenues from packet data transmission, most of which is from i-mode, surged 416.7 percent from the previous year to 307.02 billion yen, a key element of DoCoMo’s strong performance in fiscal 2000, the company said.

Operating profits were 777.1 billion yen, up 42.4 percent, and pretax profits were 686.9 billion yen, up 36.5 percent compared with fiscal 1999.

Interest-bearing debts meanwhile increased 74 percent to hit 1.44 trillion yen, mainly due to DoCoMo’s strategic investments in foreign telecom companies.

DoCoMo predicts that its group sales will increase 13 percent to hit 5.297 trillion yen during the current fiscal year, while it projects operating profits will surge 18.9 percent to 924 billion yen and net profits will rise 6.7 percent to 390 billion yen.

The company also officially announced it will effectively cut its monthly mobile phone fees in June by adding free calls worth up to 400 yen.

Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Corp.’s group pretax profit for fiscal 2000 is estimated to have reached close to 1 trillion yen, setting a new record for Toyota and for Japanese firms, company sources said Wednesday.

The auto giant’s group pretax profit is estimated at 970 billion yen to 980 billion yen, thanks to brisk sales — particularly of luxury cars — and the yen’s decline, the sources said.

In the year that ended in June 1990, Toyota earned 837.8 billion yen, the biggest group pretax profit posted by a Japanese firm. Toyota changed its accounting term in 1995.

The sources said Toyota’s group sales are estimated to have hit well over 13 trillion yen in fiscal 2000 as sales were strong for a wide range of models, including the profitable Celsior luxury sedan.

Its vehicle production, including output from its Daihatsu Motor Co. unit, is estimated to have risen 5.9 percent to 5.87 million units, another record high.

During the previous fiscal year Toyota suffered 430 billion yen in currency-exchange losses due to the euro’s fall, but the yen’s weakness during the just-ended fiscal calendar benefited the company.

Toshihiro Uchida, an analyst at Tokai Research & Consulting Inc., said Toyota’s strong earnings performance signifies that the carmaker has fared well in the increasingly competitive global market.

“This also underscores the need for protected industries, such as construction and retail, to boost their competitiveness as Japan pushes ahead with structural reforms,” he said.

Toyota will announce its fiscal 2000 earnings results next Wednesday.

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