Major trading house Mitsui & Co. said Thursday its consolidated pretax profits for fiscal 2000 expanded 54.7 percent from the previous year to 79.63 billion yen, helped by securities sales.

Group net profits surged 48.1 percent to 51.59 billion yen under U.S. accounting rules in the reporting year that ended March 31, the company said.

Operating profits, however, declined 10.4 percent to 55.13 billion yen, due to an increase in an allowance for uncollectable accounts, it said.

Consolidated sales marked a 1.2 percent fall to 13.05 trillion yen, with sales in nonferrous metals and machines decreasing. Sales in oil and chemical products meanwhile increased, the company said.

Its exports fell 7.6 percent to 1.8 trillion yen, hit by a decrease in machines, particularly automobiles, but imports grew 23.2 percent to 2.59 trillion yen, boosted by a rise in crude oil prices.

Profits per share came to 32.57 yen, up from 22 yen.

On an unconsolidated basis, Mitsui reported pretax profits of 66.52 billion yen, up 8 percent, and net profits of 7.34 billion yen, up 93.8 percent, on sales of 10.22 trillion yen, down 4.1 percent.

Its unconsolidated operating profits expanded 36.5 percent to 30.62 billion yen.

It plans to pay an annual dividend of 8 yen per share, unchanged from the previous year.

For the current fiscal year, Mitsui projects consolidated sales of 14 trillion yen, up 7 percent, and net profits of 67 billion yen, up 30 percent.

Itochu rebounds

Itochu Corp., Japan’s foremost trading company, said Thursday it posted net group profits of 70.51 billion yen in its 2000 business year.

This marks a turnaround from net losses of 88.27 billion yen in the preceding year.

The company’s pretax profits came to 164.31 billion yen in the year that ended March 31, compared to pretax losses of 93.54 billion yen posted the year before.

Its sales stood at 12.135 trillion yen, down 0.1 percent.

For the preceding year, the company sank into the red due to appraisal losses in its commercial real estate and its disposal of unprofitable subsidiaries.

Itochu managed to post profits in 2000 due to measures it implemented to improve its financial standing and profitability under a two-year restructuring plan that ended in fiscal 2000.

On a parent-only basis, Itochu saw net profits of 25.49 billion yen, rebounding from losses of 163.26 billion yen the previous year.

Pretax profits fell 21.8 percent to 30.75 billion yen on sales of 9.856 trillion yen, down 3.9 percent.

For the 2001 business year, Itochu projects it will achieve group net profits of 60 billion yen and sales of 12 trillion yen. On a parent-only basis, the company is projecting net profits of 23 billion yen, pretax profits of 35 billion yen and sales of 9 trillion yen.

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