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Hitachi's annual profit down, points to surge this year

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Hitachi said on Thursday that its annual profit fell, owing to a one-off surge a year earlier, but it forecast a rebound this year.

[TOKYO] Hitachi said on Thursday that its annual profit fell, owing to a one-off surge a year earlier, but it forecast a rebound this year.

The Japanese conglomerate, which sells everything from lifts to nuclear plants, said its net profit was down 8.9 per cent at 241.3 billion yen (US$2.0 billion) in the 12 months to March, largely due to year-earlier gains it booked from a reorganisation of its thermal power generation unit.

Operating profit in the just-ended year rose nearly 12 per cent to 600.48 billion yen on sales of 9.76 trillion yen, up 2.1 per cent, Hitachi said, crediting strong demand for its lifts in China and strong sales of auto parts and electronics products.

For the year to March next year, Hitachi estimates it will post a 310 billion yen net profit on sales of 9.95 trillion yen, under newly adopted accounting rules.

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In February, Hitachi said it would buy the rail and traffic signal businesses of Italy's Finmeccanica, in a deal that could reach more than US$2.0 billion as it looks to take on global rail giants.

The acquisition was expected to push up Hitachi's annual rail-related sales to more than 400 billion yen - about half that of Canada's Bombardier, Siemens of Germany or France's Alstom.

AFP

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