* Mazda, Subaru raise profit outlook on falling yen
* Mazda shares up more than 150 pct in three months
* Currency moves will not mean strategy changes -Mazda
By Yoko Kubota
TOKYO, Feb 6 Among Japanese carmakers, Mazda
Motor Corp and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd are
best placed to benefit from the weakening yen, raising their
earnings forecasts as exported goods bring in more cash.
Mazda makes 71 percent of its vehicles in Japan and exports
about 80 percent of them, while Fuji Heavy makes about
three-quarters of its cars at home, shipping about 67 percent of
Their higher domestic production and export ratios than top
three automakers Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co Ltd
and Honda Motor Co Ltd put them in a strong
position to take advantage of a yen that has lost around 20
percent of its value versus the dollar since October.
"The companies (Mazda and Fuji Heavy) have restructured
themselves while they were struggling from a strong yen, and
their reforms have seen much progress," said Mitsushige Akino, a
fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management.
"Rather than the yen moves, what matters now are their core
strategies, such as how it can become more competitive to boost
Mazda, the fifth biggest Japanese carmaker by sales, raised
its operating profit outlook for the year ending in March by 20
billion yen to 45 billion yen ($481.8 million), which would be
its highest since the year ended March 2008. The softer yen
accounted for an 18.4 billion yen boost.
Fuji Heavy, which makes Subaru cars and is seeing strong
sales in its biggest market the United States, lifted its
operating profit outlook by 25 billion yen to a record 107
billion yen, with currency moves boosting profit by 23.3 billion
Still, the firms said the currency moves would not change
their plans to build more cars in foreign markets where demand
is strong, wary of the yen reversing its trend and eating into
"We will absolutely maintain our structural reform, even if
the strong yen is being corrected. We do not want to repeat the
struggles from recent years," Mazda Chief Executive Officer
Takashi Yamanouchi told reporters. Mazda has booked a net loss
for the past four years since the global financial crisis in
The weaker the yen, the more money Japanese companies make
when they convert overseas profits back into their home
currency, and products exported from Japan can be sold at more
competitive prices abroad. Japanese carmakers with a big
domestic production base are more exposed to this move than
those who make most of their cars outside Japan.
Mazda stock is the best-performing among Japanese automakers
in the past three months, jumping 167 percent, followed by Fuji
Heavy Industries' 73 percent leap, both on expectations the
weaker yen would boost their businesses.
Mazda shares ended up 4.4 percent at 283 yen, and Fuji Heavy
rose 5.1 percent to 1,371 yen on Wednesday, outperforming a
Nikkei index that was up 3.8 percent.
($1 = 93.3950 Japanese yen)
(Editing by Daniel Magnowski)