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Suzuki Motor Corp. said Friday its group pretax profit for the fiscal first half to Sept. 30 rose 41.6 percent from a year earlier to 38.32 billion yen as sales topped the 1 trillion yen mark for the first time.

In its consolidated earnings report, the maker of minicars and motorcycles said sales rose 18.5 percent to 1.03 trillion yen, a record for a first-half period, as it redoubled efforts to boost product competitiveness.

Cost cuts and exchange-rate gains also helped improve profitability, it said.

Despite the revenue increase, Suzuki marked an 8.4 percent fall in net profit to 10.19 billion yen as it booked an extraordinary loss connected to its purchase of a controlling stake in an Indian unit.

Group net profit per share was 18.88 yen in the April-September period, down from 20.58 yen a year earlier.

The company will pay an interim dividend of 4 yen per share, unchanged from a year ago. It plans to pay a yearend dividend of 4 yen per share, making the full-year payment to 8 yen per share, down from 8.5 yen the previous year.

For the year through next March 31, Suzuki forecasts a net profit of 30 billion yen and a pretax profit of 69 billion yen on revenues of 1.98 trillion yen.

In the previous fiscal year, the company logged a net profit of 22.39 billion yen and a pretax profit of 52.32 billion yen on revenues of 1.67 trillion yen.

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