July 31, 2015 / 4:20 AM / 4 years ago

Fuji Heavy Q1 op profit jumps 70 pct on surging US sales

TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) - Japan’s Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd , the maker of Subaru cars, posted a 70 percent jump in quarterly operating profit as sales continued to climb in the United States, its biggest market, and a weak yen boosted the value of earnings overseas.

Fuji Heavy said on Friday its first-quarter operating profit was 134.21 billion yen ($1.08 billion), beating the 129 billion yen average estimate in a survey of nine analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. It made an operating profit of 78.72 billion yen in the same period a year ago.

Demand has grown so rapidly in the United States that Fuji Heavy has struggled to meet it. Fuji Heavy, the smallest of Japan’s eight car makers, said U.S. sales rose 28 percent to 140,400 vehicles in the quarter, helped by demand for the Legacy sedan and Outback sport utility vehicle models.

Fuji Heavy has also benefited from a cheaper yen, which makes its exports more competitive and boosts the value of repatriated earnings. The company ships about 80 percent of its Japan-made vehicles overseas.

Currency gains added 50 billion yen to operating profit during the quarter, the firm said.

Fuji Heavy left its financial forecasts for the year ending March 2016 unchanged, expecting operating profit of 503 billion yen, up 19 percent.

$1 = 123.9200 yen Reporting by Minami Funakoshi; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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