Business / Corporate

Honda raises forecasts on solid motorbike sales

AFP-JIJI

Honda Motor Co. said Tuesday it was raising annual forecasts after first-half profits rose over 19 percent on brisk sales of motorcycles in Asia.

Japan’s third largest automaker now expects net profit to reach ¥675 billion ($6 billion) for the fiscal year ending March, down from last year but a still an increase from its forecast last quarter.

It also revised up annual sales to ¥15.8 trillion.

The company said it was seeing strong growth in the sales of motorbikes in Indonesia, Vietnam and other Asian countries, and touted cost-cutting efforts.

It said net profit in the April-September period was up 19.3 percent to ¥455.1 billion while operating profit jumped 21.7 percent to ¥513.9 billion. Sales rose 5.0 percent to ¥7.87 trillion.

“Honda enjoyed strong sales of motorcycles. … This offset the negative impact of floods in Mexico on its production,” Satoru Takada, an analyst at TIW, a Tokyo-based research and consulting firm, said ahead of the results.

Honda was forced to temporarily halt operations at its largest auto factory in Mexico due to floods in June, and said at the time that it would lose ¥50 billion as a result.

Japanese automakers remain on edge over talk of U.S. tariffs, though immediate action by Washington has been put off for now.

“Japanese carmakers are also bracing for the impact of U.S. trade disputes with other major economies,” Takada said.

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