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Thursday, 9 May, 2002, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Nissan results shine
Nissan president Carlos Ghosn
'Le Cost Killer' has pulled Nissan around a year ahead of schedule
Nissan Motor's wholesale restructuring has helped the company to a second successive year of record profits.

Results out on Thursday showed that the company made a 490bn yen ($3.8bn; 2.6bn) operating profit in the year to March, more than even the most optimistic estimates, and up 69% on the year before.

Net profits produced another record of 372bn yen, up from 331bn yen last year, on sales which rose 1.8% to 6.2 trillion yen - although unit sales were down 1.4% to 2.6 million vehicles.

The company was upbeat about the year ahead, predicting operating profits of 553bn for 2002-3.

The weakness of the yen had helped the figures, Nissan said.

French connection

The turnaround is a rare bright spot in the poorly performing Japanese economy.

In 1999, Nissan was widely seen as a basket case, triggering the entry of French carmaker Renault as an unlikely saviour.

After buying nearly 40% of Nissan, Renault inserted Brazilian-born Frenchman Carlos Ghosn - who had won the nickname "Le Cost Killer" - to try to revive the company.

And current performance seems to indicate Mr Ghosn, now president of the company, has succeeded beyond anyone's expectations.

The Nissan Revival Plan outlined in 1999 has been completed a year early, the company said, with 21,000 job cuts and a supplier base cut by half.

Onwards

A new three-year business plan is now intended to take the company even further forward, it said, outlining plans for 28 new vehicles and sales up by a million vehicles a year by 2005.

It wants to reduce the debt on its automotive operations to zero, having cut it to 435bn yen - well ahead of the 700bn yen planned for by March 2003.

And it also aims to boost its market share in Japan to 22.5% from 17.9% at the moment.

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 ON THIS STORY
Graeme Maxton, Autopolis
"The results look fabulous but its all down to exchange rates and export markets a few months ago."
See also:

25 Apr 02 | Business
Nissan hires 4,000
14 May 02 | England
Fire at Nissan plant
27 Mar 02 | Business
Honda defies fall in Japan car sales
28 Feb 02 | Business
Automotive Empires
30 Oct 01 | Business
Nissan and Renault cement ties
21 Jun 01 | Business
Ghosn tightens Nissan grip
17 May 01 | Business
Nissan returns to profit
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