May 12 2005.
Suzuki Motor Corp. has posted a group pretax profit of a record 109.5 billion yen for fiscal 2004, a 15% increase that marks the firm's fifth straight record annual profit and its first pretax profit topping 100 billion yen.
This strong performance is attributed in large part to brisk Asian sales.
Group sales rose 8% to 2.36 trillion yen. Of these, sales in Asia outside Japan totaled 500 billion yen, up 8%. Both automobiles and motorcycles sold well, particularly in such markets as India, Pakistan and Indonesia, helping to lift the region's operating profit by 49% to 37.2 billion yen.
In Japan, minicar sales climbed 5% to 600,000 units. But motorcycle sales in unit terms fell 9%, and R&D spending increased, resulting in a 3% decline in the domestic segment's operating profit to 65.6 billion yen. Operating profit for the European operations dropped 26% as well.
Suzuki used the average foreign exchange rate of 107 yen to the dollar, representing the yen's appreciation of 6 yen, and this unfavorable rate slashed profit by 13 billion yen. Profit was further lowered by 10.2 billion yen by higher materials costs. But these factors were more than offset primarily by the firm's cost-cutting program worth 56.1 billion yen, and consolidated net profit gained 38% to 60.5 billion yen on a 13% increase in group operating profit to 107.5 billion yen.
For this fiscal year, pretax profit is projected to fall 18% to 90 billion yen due mainly to heavier capital outlays.

Source: The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Thursday morning edition.