Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co., the nation’s two biggest trading houses, forecast higher profit this year as surging prices for iron ore and steelmaking coal boost revenue from their energy and metals businesses.
Mitsubishi’s net income may climb to ¥370 billion in the year ending March 2011 from ¥273.1 billion a year earlier, the Tokyo-based company said Friday. Mitsui expects profit of ¥320 billion, more than double the ¥149.7 billion a year earlier.
Vale SA, the world’s largest iron ore producer, won a 90 percent rise in contract prices from Asian mills for the quarter started April, while BHP Billiton Ltd., the biggest coking coal exporter, secured a 55 percent increase from JFE Holdings Inc.’s steel unit for the quarter. Mitsubishi reaps more than half its profit from energy and metals.
“Iron ore and coking coal are the major drivers for Mitsubishi’s bottom line,” Yasuhiro Narita, a senior analyst at Nomura Securities Co., said before the earnings announcement. “Mitsubishi and Mitsui & Co. are on track to post record profits in the next few years.”
Mitsubishi, with stakes in iron ore mines in Chile and Canada and a coking coal venture with BHP in Australia, expects profits from metals to total ¥185 billion this fiscal year compared with ¥137.9 billion in the year ended March. Earnings from energy may climb to ¥73 billion from ¥71.9 billion, according to the statement filed to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
“Mitsubishi and Mitsui will probably sustain their appetite for overseas energy and mining assets in coming years as their profit outlook remains bright,” Narita of Nomura said.
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