Mazda suffers profit slump after forex losses

August 1, 2007 - 0:0

TOKYO (AFP) -- Japanese automaker Mazda Motor Corp. announced Tuesday a 62.5 percent plunge in net profits for the fiscal first quarter after it lost money trying to shield itself against currency fluctuations.

But sales rose sharply helped by a weak yen, which boosts exports, and the popularity of its CX7 mid-size sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and CX9 seven-seater crossover in the United States since their launch last year.
Mazda, an affiliate of U.S. giant Ford Motor, posted net earnings of 2.48 billion yen (20.8 million dollars) for the three months to June.
Operating profit increased 9.0 percent to 32.26 billion yen as revenue jumped 10.9 percent to 814.29 billion yen, the Hiroshima-based automaker said in a statement.
Mazda sold 323,000 vehicles in the quarter, down 0.8 percent from a year earlier.
Like other Japanese automakers, Mazda struggled in its domestic market, where sales dropped 7.4 percent to 57,000 vehicles.
It did better in North America, where sales increased 5.9 percent to 108,000 vehicles, while Europe saw a steady performance.
Sales in China slumped 44 percent to 16,000 vehicles because of the end of local production of the 323 and Premacy models under the Mazda brand.
While the weak yen boosted Mazda's revenues from overseas, the automaker said it took a hit of 7.89 billion yen from losses on forward exchange contracts that companies use to hedge against currency movements.
Income from non-core subsidiaries and affiliates also declined.
But Mazda kept its forecasts for another year of record earnings.
It expects net profit to rise 15.3 percent to 85 billion yen, with operating profit up 0.9 percent to 160 billion yen on record revenue of 3.32 trillion yen, up 2.2 percent