Toyota to announce earnings forecast on Friday
TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) will announce an earnings forecast on Friday for the financial year to March 2012, as it steadily restores production disrupted by Thai flooding that forced it to withdraw its outlook a month earlier.
Toyota's output has returned to normal levels at most of its production sites worldwide, although Thai and South African plants continue operating at reduced rates after Thailand's worst floods in 50 years hit suppliers, cutting global output by 215,000 vehicles from October 10 to November 25.
The relatively quick compilation of new guidance contrasts with Honda Motor Co (7267.T), which was hit particularly hard when its own facilities were inundated by floods in central Thailand and also withdrew its annual earnings guidance when it announced half-year results.
Honda said last week it was aiming to give a full-year forecast with its third-quarter results, usually released in late January.
"Toyota is doing well compared to Honda (regarding the Thai floods) and its share of the market is growing as a whole," said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co.
"I think the numbers will be as expected, and the fact that they are releasing them now is a good thing."
Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) raised its outlook when it gave its half-year figures, as it adapted more quickly to the disruptions triggered by the Thai flooding.
The floods hit just as Toyota's supply chains had recovered from the devastating March 11 earthquake in northeast Japan.
Japan's biggest automaker had been projecting an operating profit of 450 billion yen ($5.77 billion) for the year to March 2012 when it withdrew its forecast on November 8, compared with 468.28 billion yen the year before.
The consensus forecast of 23 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S calls for an operating profit of 422 billion yen, down from a 486 billion yen average forecast from 21 analysts at the time the company's guidance was withdrawn.
Toyota's profits have also been eroded by the strong yen, which is making its exports unprofitable and reduces the value of profits earned overseas when they are repatriated.
The company is nevertheless sticking to a commitment to manufacturing in Japan, despite disadvantages when competing globally against rivals such as Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS).
Monday's news came after the end of share trading in Tokyo.
Toyota shares climbed 2.7 percent on Monday, outperforming a 0.6 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei average .N225, as well as Honda's 0.8 percent fall and Nissan's 0.1 percent gain.
Since the March 11 earthquake, Toyota and Honda have both dropped about 26 percent, while Nissan is down 11 percent.
($1 = 77.97 yen)
(Additional reporting by Mari Saito and Mayumi Negishi; Writing by Edmund Klamann; Editing by Joseph Radford)
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