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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 06:49 GMT
Toyota boosts profits as yen slides
Cars parked
Japanese buyers sought out new compact models
Toyota, Japan's biggest carmaker, has seen net profits almost double in the first six months of the financial year as a tough cost-cutting programme and a weakening yen helped boost sales in North America.

The company announced it earned 291.11bn yen ($2.4bn; 1.65bn) between April and September 2001, up from 159.59bn yen in the same period the year before.

The figures indicated that Toyota can well afford the heavy start-up costs it has invested in plants in France.

Toyota said it expects its European operations to be profitable by the 2003-4 financial year.

Currency gains

But the gain is flattered by a huge charge of over nearly 350bn yen taken last year to cover pension expenses.

In operating terms - which leaves out such exceptional costs - Toyota's profits were up 35% to 506bn yen, roughly in line with market expectations.

Toyota's sales for the six months were 6,833.56bn yen, a rise of 6.4%.

That figure was boosted by the strengthening dollar, making Toyota's cars more competitive in the vital North American market where sales grew strongly.

Over the period, the dollar averaged 122 yen, while the average last year was 107 yen.

Analysts see the results as encouraging for the full year, and are predicting record profits.

See also:

26 Sep 01 | Business
Japan car sales rise
15 Dec 00 | Business
Toyota plays down Ford talks
14 Aug 00 | Business
Japan's other carmaker
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