Hino Motors Ltd. said Tuesday its group net profit for the April-September half of fiscal 2003 soared nearly fourfold from a year earlier due to brisk sales.

The truck and bus maker, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp., reported a group net profit of 13.95 billion yen for the six months, compared with 3.74 billion yen a year earlier. Per-share net profit was 24.29 yen, up from 6.52 yen.

First-half pretax profit leaped 6.2-fold to 23.20 billion yen and sales grew 28.8 percent to 502.34 billion yen, the company said.

Hino Motors will raise its interim dividend by 1 yen to 3 yen per share.

Hino said combined first-half sales of its trucks and buses jumped 61.2 percent to 24,000 in the domestic market as a result of robust replacement demand prior to the Oct. 1 introduction of stricter emissions standards in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures.

Overseas sales grew 35.3 percent to 17,000 vehicles, while the number of vehicles Hino Motors produced for sale under the Toyota brand name rose by 13.3 percent to 101,000, it said.

For the full year, the company expects a group net profit of 24.5 billion yen.

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