Mazda Q3 operating profit up 7.5%

By From Reuters| Feb 10 2007
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TOKYO (Reuters) -- Mazda Motor Corp. posted a 7.5 percent rise in quarterly profit powered by a favorable slide in the yen and increased exports to North America and Europe, and lifted its forecasts for record annual operating profit.

For the three months to December 31, operating profit was 37.5 billion yen ($310.4 million), short of a mean estimate of 39.27 billion yen produced in a survey of five brokerages by Reuters Estimates. Third-quarter net profit grew 46 percent to 14.9 billion yen.

Mazda, held one-third by loss-making Ford Motor Co., raised its operating profit forecast for the full year to March 31 to 158 billion yen from the previous projection of 148 billion yen, but lowered its net profit projection to 73 billion yen from 82 billion yen.

The Hiroshima-based carmaker is enjoying brisk sales of Japan-made cars such as the Mazda3 compact sedan and CX-7 crossover in North America and Europe, getting a double boon as the softer yen jacks up the value of earnings made abroad.

Like most of its Japanese competitors, Mazda boosted its vehicle exports by double-digit percentages in 2006 from the year before, making up for a sales slide at home and other Asian markets.

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