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TOKYO, April 28 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co forecast on Friday a 16.1 percent fall in operating profit for the current financial year as the Japanese automaker expects a stronger yen, changes to its pension plan and research and development costs will weigh on earnings even as auto sales rise.
Japan's No. 3 automaker said it expects an operating profit of 705.0 billion yen ($6.34 billion) in the year to March, lower than an average estimate of 850.8 billion yen according to 23 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, and lower than the 840.7 billion yen posted for the year just ended.
Honda's projection is based on expectations that the yen will trade at 105 yen to the U.S. dollar in the year to March, compared with 108 yen in the year just ended. ($1 = 111.2000 yen)
Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman