April 27, 2018 / 6:38 AM / 8 months ago

Kobe Steel posts first profit in three years despite data fraud scandal

TOKYO, April 27 (Reuters) - Kobe Steel Ltd, Japan’s third-biggest steelmaker, on Friday posted its first annual profit in three years, even after admitting to falsifying quality data, a scandal that affected hundreds of customers and hit Japan’s manufacturing prowess.

Kobe Steel reported profit of 63.19 billion yen ($578 million) for the year ended March 31, against a loss of 23.05 billion yen a year earlier.

The result was above its own forecast of 45 billion yen and an estimate of 49.56 billion yen among seven analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company predicted a 45 billion yen profit for the year to March 2019, compared with a mean profit forecast of 44.62 billion yen from six analysts.

Kobe Steel, which supplies steel and aluminium parts to manufacturers of cars, planes and trains around the world, admitted to supplying products with falsified specifications to more than 600 customers and admitted the data fraud has been going on for nearly five decades. (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi Editing by Aaron Sheldrick and Christian Schmollinger)

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