• Bloomberg

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Itochu Corp., the third-largest trading house in the country by market value, will boost its dividend payout this year as it targets a 10 percent jump in profit.

The company forecast net income will rise to ¥330 billion after meeting its profit target of ¥300 billion for the 12 months ended March 31. The dividend may rise 9 percent this year to ¥50, and 10 percent the year after to ¥55, Itochu said Friday in a statement.

An investor in Dole-brand fruit and Paul Smith apparel among other businesses, Itochu’s strategy of focusing outside of commodities has helped expand profit at a time when domestic rivals such as Mitsui & Co., Sumitomo Corp., and Marubeni Corp. are slashing earnings targets.

In January, Itochu announced plans to buy about 10 percent of China’s state-controlled conglomerate Citic Ltd. The stake in Citic and tie-ups with the Chinese company could help Itochu’s profit rise to ¥400 billion annually by 2017, the company said Friday as it outlined a new mid-term strategy plan.