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Honda profit beats estimates

Tuesday, July 29 08:50:03

Honda Motor Co's April-June operating profit rose 7.1 percent from a year earlier to 198.04 billion yen, beating analyst estimates, boosted by cost cuts and strong sales of the remodelled Fit in Japan.

The first-quarter operating profit compared with a 181.8 billion yen mean estimate of 12 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Honda also raised its annual operating profit forecast slightly to 770 billion yen from 760 billion yen for the year ending in March 2015, reflecting tweaks to its currency assumptions to indicate a marginally weaker yen.

Sales in Japan were bolstered by back-orders from a rush of buying that preceded a sales tax hike on April 1, while model changes boosted sales in China, India and Indonesia, the company said.

That offset flagging sales in Thailand, where political turmoil has hurt business, and a sales drop this year in the United States, where its average sales incentive per vehicle has been on the increase. Its two main Japanese rivals have seen rising sales in the U.S. market.

Honda's operating profit margin for its four-wheeled vehicle business was an anaemic 4.3 percent.

Honda's shares ended down 0.8 percent before the earnings were announced, compared with a 0.6 percent rise in Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei average. Honda's shares are down 18 percent so far this year, underperforming the Nikkei's 4 percent drop. (Reuters)

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