Nissan Earnings Preview: Can The Company Shake Off Sales Slump In Europe And China?

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (NSANY) is gearing up to release its fiscal fourth quarter earnings results on Friday. According to Zacks Investment Research, the consensus forecast for the quarter is earnings of 44 cents per share, up from the reported 36 cents a share in the same period last year.
Recent data revealed that auto sales in the U.S. slipped in April for the first time since October last year, but it increased from the year-ago level of 14.42 million units by 3.5%. Total vehicle sales rose 8.5% to 1.29 million vehicles in the month.
Among the six major automakers, Nissan topped all of them in terms of sales growth.
Nissan Motor posted an impressive 23.2% rise in sales to 87,847 vehicles. Nissan Division sales rose 24.6% to 80,003 units, driven by models like Altima, Pathfinder, Sentra and Rogue. Sales of Infiniti vehicles grew 10% to 7,844 units in the month.

Toyota Motor Corp. sales slid 1.1 percent to 176,160 units due to weak car sales, while Honda Motor Co. recorded a 7.4 percent rise in sales to 130,999 vehicles.

Third quarter net revenue was 2.2084 trillion yen (US$27.23 billion, euro 21.01 billion), down 5.3 percent year-on-year. Nissan reported an operating profit of 62.1 billion yen (US$770 million, euro 590 million), down 47.4 percent compared to the same period in FY2011, and an operating profit margin of 2.8 percent. Ordinary profit was 89.0 billion yen (US$1.10 billion, euro 850 million).

“Nissan’s performance in the third quarter did not meet our expectations. This was primarily the result of difficult operating conditions in Europe for the entire auto industry, in China for Japanese automakers, and in the U.S. for Nissan,” said Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn. “We have taken action to reignite our sales momentum and growth under the Nissan Power 88 business plan. Looking forward, we have important vehicle launches. We anticipate further yen correction. We have made swift organizational changes to help stimulate our business performance. And we remain confident that we will meet our full-year outlook.”

Nissan’s forecast for the full fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, is unchanged. Although the operating environment remains challenging, positive contributions from yen correction, and disciplined cost management within the company will enable a renewed focus on achieving robust operating profit. Nissan has forecast full fiscal year operating profit outlook of 575 billion yen (US $7.21 billion, euro 5.65 billion) and net income of 320 billion yen (US $4.02 billion, euro 3.14 billion).


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