Toyota likely logged 09/10 operating profit

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T is expected to have posted a group operating profit of as high as 50 billion yen ($532 million) for the year that ended on March 31, Japan's business daily Nikkei reported on Saturday.

The world’s biggest automaker, under pressure after a series of recalls and incidents that tarnished its once market-leading reputation for quality, would beat its forecast of a 20 billion yen loss, thanks to a weaker yen and its cost-cutting efforts, the newspaper said without citing sources.

Groupwide auto sales likely fell 5 percent to about 7.2 million units, Nikkei added.

According to average forecasts compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, Toyota is expected to have logged a 42.35 billion yen operating profit for the 2009/10 business year, a figure that has been revised higher in recent days.

Rivals are likely to have performed better as Toyota scrambled to cope with the worst recall crisis in its history during the March quarter.

Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles -- most of them in the United States -- and has been penalised by U.S. safety regulators for not acting quickly enough once it identified a defect with its accelerator pedals. Earlier this week, it agreed to pay a record $16.4 million federal fine for that delay.

Toyota reports on May 11.

($1=93.91 Yen)

Reporting by Yoko Nishikawa; Editing by Lincoln Feast