Toyota predicts net loss in current fiscal

February 6th, 2009 - 10:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Lehman BrothersTokyo, Feb 6 (DPA) Toyota Motor Corp, the world’s largest automaker, Friday slashed its earnings prognosis for the third time, now predicting a net loss of 350 billion yen ($3.8 billion) for the business year that ends March 31.The worldwide downturn has hit Toyota harder than expected. Only two months ago, the automaker had predicted net profit of 50 billion yen for the year after reporting record earnings of 1.72 trillion yen the previous year.

“We had a really tough time in the October to December period,” Executive Vice President Mitsuo Kinoshita said at a press conference Friday in Tokyo.

After the US investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September, Toyota suffered declines in auto sales worldwide, Kinoshita added.

Coupled with the waning consumer appetite, the yen’s surge against other major currencies hurt the automaker’s earnings abroad.

The Toyota Group’s auto sales for the third quarter amounted to 1.84 million units, down 443,000 units in the same period in the last fiscal year.

If the automaker’s projections prove true, it would be the first time Toyota was to suffer a loss since 1963 when the company began reporting business data.

Toyota expanded its operating loss projection to 450 billion yen, from a December forecast of 150 billion yen, and lowered expected sales of 21 trillion yen, down 2.3 percent from the previous forecast.

For its third quarter, Toyota incurred a net loss of 164.7 billion yen, a reversal of a profit of 458.6 billion yen during the same quarter a year before.

Operating loss came to 360.6 billion yen for the quarter, compared with a profit of 601.5 billion yen a year earlier.

Sales hit 4.8 trillion yen, down 28.4 percent from the previous year.

Other Japanese other automakers also expected to suffer losses for the full year, while Honda as Japan’s second largest automaker expected a net profit of 80 billion yen, down 57 percent from 185 billion yen it projected in December.

In an attempt to pull the business out of its slump, Toyota plans to appoint Akio Toyoda, 52, as its new president.

The grandson of the company’s founder, Toyoda would be the first founding family member in 14 years to head the company. The decision will be finalized at a board meeting scheduled for June.

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