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The nation’s top two trading houses reported increased group net profit for the first half to Sept. 30, thanks to solid performances in the metal and food businesses, company officials said Wednesday.

Mitsubishi Corp., the largest trading house, said its group net profit for the April-September period was 43.95 billion yen, up 4.8 percent from the same period a year earlier, due to strong performances by coal and metal-related units.

According to the earnings report, compiled under U.S. accounting rules, group operating profit for the six-month period came to 41.64 billion yen, up 16.5 percent.

Group sales meanwhile fell 4.2 percent to 6.33 trillion yen.

The firm said robust performance in its metal-related resources and food operations offset the decline of sectors linked to crude oil and petrochemical products.

For the full year to March, the firm forecasts a group net profit of 85 billion yen on revenue of 12.8 trillion yen.

Meanwhile, Mitsui & Co. reported a 24.79 billion yen group net profit for the April-September period, up 5.9 percent from the same period a year earlier.

It is the third straight year the firm has set a record for group net profit in the fiscal first half.

Group operating profit for the six-month period came to 47.19 billion yen, up 6.9 percent, while group sales fell 1.5 percent to 6.24 trillion yen.

Mitsui officials attributed the revenue decline to the slump in the export of the plant machinery and information technology equipment.

However, brisk steel exports to Asian countries and a strong performance in other metal-related operations and food businesses lifted profits, they said.

Reductions in interest payments and share appraisal losses alone accounted for a 4.7 billion yen increase in profitability on a pretax basis compared with the same period the previous year.

Mitsui reshuffled its top executives in late September after a spate of scandals linked to government-funded aid projects overseas led to the firm’s chairman and president stepping down to take responsibility.

It said the scandals, which led Mitsui to voluntarily suspend bidding for official development aid projects, had little effect on its first-half earnings. The impact will be minimal during the second half, it added.

For the full year to March, Mitsui forecasts a group net profit of 65 billion yen on revenue of 13 trillion yen.

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