YOKOHAMA, Japan, May 10 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co posted a 46.1 percent rise in its quarterly net profit, as the weakening yen helps Japanese carmakers repatriate overseas earnings at a more favourable rate than previously.
In January-March, Japan’s second biggest automaker by sales volume posted net profit of 110 billion yen ($1.11 billion), compared with 75.3 billion yen in the same period last year.
The fourth-quarter figure was above an average forecast of 100.8 billion yen net profit made by five analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Nissan expects global retail sales of 5.3 million vehicles in the current business year that ends in 2014, up from 4.9 million last year.
In the financial year ended March, Nissan was the only one among Japan’s top three automakers to see annual global vehicle sales fall from the previous year.
That was partially due to sales falling in China after anti-Japan protests in September, and partially because it enjoyed a strong 2012, having recovered more quickly than its rivals from the 2011 earthquake that hit Japan.
Of the Japanese automakers, Nissan is the most exposed to China. The world’s biggest auto market accounts for about a quarter of its global sales.
Nissan’s sales slowdown is casting doubt on whether it will be able to achieve its goal of winning 8 percent global market share by March 2017, with an operating margin of 8 percent.
For the nine months to December, Nissan had a 6.2 percent global share.
Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co both booked record sales in the year ended March. Toyota’s rose 16.3 percent, while Honda’s sales grew 32.2 percent year-on-year.
$1 = 99.3050 Japanese yen Reporting by Yoko Kubota and James Topham; Editing by Daniel Magnowski