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Friday, 25 January, 2002, 10:49 GMT
Toyota announces share buy-back
Toyota car on race track
The weak yen has boosted Toyota's sales abroad
Japan's largest car maker has announced that it will buy back 45 million of its own shares at an estimated value of 150bn yen ($1.1bn; 780m).

Share buy-backs, while common practice in the West, are more unusual for Japanese firms.

But the strategy has become more popular recently, with the electronics materials firm Matsushita also announcing a similar scheme on Friday.

Many Japanese exporters have seen their profits increase thanks to a weaker yen, but have still suffered from falling share prices.

And the exporters are using their extra profits to help support their share price by buying back their own stock.

Good times for some

The good times of Japan's leading exporters have often been overshadowed by the general gloom surrounding the country's economy.

Toyota, Japan's biggest carmaker, saw its net profits almost double in the first six months of the financial year, after the weakening yen helped boost sales.

It is estimated that Toyota's net profit increases by 20bn yen for every one yen decline against the dollar.

And Sony reported its strongest ever operating profit in company history on Friday.

The ailing banking sector is often blamed for the downward trend of shares, as it is forced to ditch stocks in order to raise cash.

And banking reforms - where the bank's investments are measured according to current market values - are also expected to cause a stock market sell-off before Japan's fiscal year ends in March.

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
08 Nov 01 | Business
Toyota boosts profits as yen slides
08 Jan 02 | Business
Toyota targets youth with new cars
25 Jan 02 | Business
Games boom drives Sony profits
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