• Staff report

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Yamaha Motor Co. said Thursday its group operating profit fell 9 percent year-on-year to 37.29 billion yen in the fiscal first half partly due to a stronger yen.

Toru Hasegawa, president of the major maker of motorcycles and boat engines, also cited the decreased production volume of all-terrain vehicles for the North American market.

Pretax profit in the April-September period fell 5.4 percent to 36.21 billion yen.

But net profit jumped 67.1 percent to a record 19.18 billion yen. In the first half of fiscal 2002, net profit was reduced by an extraordinary loss of 9.5 billion yen on its Indian business, company officials said.

Group sales rose 0.8 percent to 530.04 billion yen.

In terms of volume, sales of motorcycles rose 9.1 percent to 1.26 million units worldwide, thanks to strong demand in Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand. Sales in Asia jumped 22.8 percent to 760,000 motorcycles.

But domestic sales fell 21.3 percent to 96,000 units, due to a failure in sales strategy, company officials said. While Honda Motor Co. and Suzuki Motor Corp. introduced 50cc scooters priced at less than 100,000 yen earlier this year, Yamaha’s lowest model remained 139,000 yen.

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