TOKYO (Reuters) -- Suzuki said today that its annual operating profit fell for the first time in six years as weak demand in Japan and Southeast Asia offset hefty currency gains and robust earnings in India, its biggest market.
The automaker said that operating profit dropped 4.4 percent to 179.42 billion yen ($1.50 billion) in the year ended March, despite a 22.2 billion yen currency gain as the weaker yen boosted the value of overseas sales.
The result was below both the automaker’s own guidance that operating profit would edge up 0.1 percent to 188 billion yen, and an average estimate of 189.55 billion yen in a Reuters survey of 23 analysts.
Europe lifts 2015 forecast
For the current business year, Suzuki forecast a 5.9 percent rise in operating profit to 190 billion yen, with higher vehicle sales in India and Europe making up for sinking demand in Japan. Analysts on average expect operating profit of 214.94 billion yen.
Suzuki expects global sales to rise 3.9 percent to 2.98 million vehicles this business year, despite an expected 14.7 percent slump in Japan, its second-biggest market after India.
In India, Suzuki expects sales to rise 10 percent this business year. Subsidiary Maruti Suzuki India said last month it expects to push further into rural areas to help expand its market share.