Nissan Motor Co. said Thursday it expects to report a record consolidated operating profit of 401.1 billion yen for the first half of fiscal 2003, up 15.2 percent from the same period last year.

Unveiling the firm’s latest estimates for the April-September period, Nissan President Carlos Ghosn attributed the favorable results to surging car sales worldwide and successful cost-cutting efforts.

Nissan said, however, that its consolidated net profit would decrease 17.4 percent from a year earlier to 237.7 billion yen, due to increasing tax payments and falling extraordinary gains.

As its profits increase, Nissan’s effective tax rate for fiscal 2003 will rise to 34 percent, having stood at 21.7 percent in fiscal 2002.

Nissan logged an extraordinary gain of 56.4 billion yen in the first half of fiscal 2002, having sold off land in Kanagawa Prefecture after closing a plant there.

Although the yen became stronger against the dollar than Nissan had expected, the negative impact of this rise was offset by the mainly positive impact of the pound-euro exchange rate, Ghosn said.

Ghosn appraised the overall interim results on a favorable note, stating that Nissan was systematically pursuing its vision to establish lasting, profitable growth.

Nissan said its group sales are expected to rise 8.2 percent to 3.56 trillion yen, with total worldwide sales expected to hit 1.47 million units, up 5.9 percent.

Its sales volume in the United States during the six-month period will come to 420,000 units, up 11 percent, while that in Europe will hit 267,000 units, up 6.6 percent.

Domestic sales rose just 0.9 percent to 387,000 units.

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