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Major shipping firm Nippon Yusen K.K. said Friday its group pretax profit for fiscal 2001 fell 29.7 percent from the previous year to 50.11 billion yen, as the firm was hit by a sharp reduction in freight charges.

The pretax profit in the year that ended March 31 dropped despite a 0.8 percent increase in group sales to 1.14 trillion yen, the company said.

On a consolidated net basis, Nippon Yusen’s profit was further trimmed to 17.54 billion yen, down 50.7 percent, on heavy appraisal losses on its securities holdings, it said.

Despite the decline in earnings, the company will pay an annual dividend of 7.5 yen per share, the same as the previous year, it said.

For fiscal 2002, the company expects to post a group pretax profit of 50 billion yen and net profit of 15 billion yen on projected sales of 1.15 trillion yen.

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