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Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. said Thursday it has revised downward its profit forecast for the fiscal first half on larger-than-expected insurance payments due to natural disasters that hit Japan in the period.

The major nonlife insurer expects its group net profit for the April-September first half of fiscal 2004 to total 28 billion yen, down 42.9 percent from the earlier estimated 49 billion yen released in May.

Its group pretax profit is expected to total 14.5 billion yen, down 69.1 percent from the 47 billion yen in the May forecast.

The company said insurance payouts for damage caused by typhoons and other natural disasters for the reporting period are estimated to reach some 65 billion yen, far exceeding its earlier first half estimate of 13.5 billion yen.

For the full year through next March, the insurer said it expects no major changes in its May earnings forecast as the company will be able to tap into its contingency reserves to prepare for natural calamities to cover any increase in insurance payments as the amount from the reserves is calculated based on complete payouts.

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