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Toyota cuts full-year profit forecast, warns about Brexit

Tokyo

JAPANESE car giant Toyota slashed its full-year net profit forecast on Wednesday after saying its nine-month figure had tumbled nearly 30 per cent as it was hit by investment losses.

The firm's senior managing officer Masayoshi Shirayanagi also said there was no way to avoid a negative impact in the event of a no-deal Brexit - days after fellow Japanese carmarker Nissan announced a cut in production in Britain.

The maker of the Camry sedan and Prius hybrid now expects annual net profit of 1.87 trillion yen (S$23 billion) instead of the 2.3 trillion yen it projected three months ago. The new forecast represents a 25 per cent plunge from the previous year.

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Shares in the carmaker fell one percent on the news, reversing gains earlier in the day, as the results were worse than even the most pessimistic analyst had feared.

Net profits for the nine months to December came to 1.42 trillion yen, down 29.3 per cent from the same period the previous year.

Toyota's bottom line was hit by losses of more than 350 billion yen on its investment portfolio, as the stock market fell in the final months of last year. "The appraisal loss appeared to be a major factor that squeezed Toyota's profit," said Satoru Takada, an analyst at TIW, a Tokyo-based research and consulting firm.

Operating profit rose 9.5 per cent to 1.94 trillion yen on sales of 22.5 trillion yen, an increase of 3.1 per cent.

Toyota left its forecasts of operating profit and sales unchanged for the full year to March 31. It projected operating profit at 2.4 trillion yen and sales at a record 29.5 billion yen for the current fiscal year.

Regarding Britain's exit from the EU, Mr Shirayanagi said: "We cannot avoid the (negative) impact no matter how much we prepare beforehand if Britain leaves the EU with no deal." He said the firm "will monitor the situation, hoping that it will not happen", adding that it was not at the moment considering production changes. AFP