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Major trading house Marubeni Corp. said Tuesday it returned to the black on a consolidated basis for the six months through September, posting a group net profit of 17.8 billion yen thanks to a reduction in sales and administrative expenses and the removal of loss-making subsidiaries from its books.

Marubeni suffered a net loss of 107 billion yen in the same period last year.

Company officials said the cost cuts pushed up the group operating profit by 14 billion yen while the sales of subsidiaries contributed 8 billion yen.

According to its midterm earnings report, compiled under U.S. accounting rules, group sales fell 4.7 percent year-on-year to 4.31 trillion yen, while the group operating profit for the six-month period came to 39.30 billion yen. That compares with an operating loss of 18.84 billion yen logged in the same six-month period the previous year.

The firm attributed the improved profitability to a solid performance in the transportation machinery sector. Brisk airplane business and automobile operations in the United States and Europe pushed up the segment’s gross profit by 18.4 percent year-on-year to 26.75 billion yen, the officials said.

The development and construction segment also fared well, helped by the enhanced profitability of housing construction, they said.

The utility and infrastructure segment and the trading house’s apparel division, however, were a drag on earnings.

For the full year to March, the firm stuck to its initial projections of 30 billion yen in group net profit on revenue of 8.6 trillion yen. The company said if it can achieve those goals, it would reinstate the 3 yen per share yearend dividend that it has suspended since the 1998 business year.

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