• Reuters

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Trading house Mitsubishi Corp. said Tuesday its profit for the last financial year jumped 27 percent to record levels due to stronger prices for coking coal and other commodities, while forecasting another profit rise this year.

Japanese trading houses have been enjoying their best profits in several years, driven by a rally in commodities from coking coal and base metals to oil and natural gas, as well as stronger earnings in non-resource businesses.

Mitsubishi’s results follow record earnings reported last week by peer Itochu Corp.

Mitsui & Co. Ltd., Sumitomo Corp. and Marubeni Corp. also booked growth in annual profits Tuesday.

Net profit for Mitsubishi, Japan’s largest trading house by assets, for the year through March 31 came to ¥560.17 billion ($5.1 billion), beating its own estimate of ¥540 billion and a mean estimate of ¥546.54 billion among nine analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The result surpassed its previous highest profit of ¥471.3 billion, reached in the year to March 2008.

“We have fully capitalized on a rally in commodities,” Mitsubishi Chief Financial Officer Kazuyuki Masu told a news conference, pointing to higher prices in coking coal, iron ore and copper.

Australian premium coking coal futures in Singapore had risen nearly 40 percent to around $218 a ton by the end of March from about $157 a year earlier. They have since eased to around $187 a ton.

Strong auto sales in Asia, where the company operates auto dealers, and solid performance in the firm’s liquefied natural gas business also supported profits, Masu added.

For the year that started in April, Mitsubishi forecast its net profit would grow 7 percent to a fresh record of ¥600 billion, above a mean estimate of ¥568.18 billion from nine analysts.

To reflect healthy earnings, Mitsubishi increased its annual dividend for the year ended March 31 to ¥110 per share from ¥80 a year earlier, while forecasting ¥115 for this year.

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