Toyota raises forecasts despite profit slump

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Japan’s Toyota Motor on Tuesday raised its full-year profit target despite seeing first quarter net profit tumble 99 percent as it grappled with the March disasters and a strong yen. The world’s biggest automaker said net profit plunged to 1.16 billion yen ($14.9 million) in April-June from a year-earlier 190.4 billion, squeezing out a gain despite disruption caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
However, amid a faster-than-expected recovery from the disasters, Toyota said it expects a second-half production rebound to help it to an annual net profit of 390 billion yen, up 39 percent from its June estimate. “Restoration has occurred at a faster-than-expected speed,” Toyota senior managing officer Takahiko Ijichi told reporters Tuesday. The automaker has said it planned to hire up to 4,000 contract workers at its Japan factories to make up lost ground, as component supplies normalise after the factories of Tohoku-based suppliers were damaged in the disasters. Production is expected to fully recover after September when post-quake parts shortages subside, Ijichi told reporters on Tuesday, after an inability to produce hammered sales in April-June.
The firm now expects annual production to be reduced by 150,000 units due to the disaster, a third of a previous estimate. For the year ending March 2012, Toyota forecast an operating profit of 450 billion yen on net sales of 19 trillion yen. The maker of the Prius hybrid and upscale Lexus brand slipped to an operating loss of 108 billion yen in the period from a year-earlier profit of 211.6 billion yen. Net revenue fell 29.4 percent on-year to 3.4 trillion yen.