* Revises up profit forecast by 8 percent
* Booked impairment loss on U.S. oil, gas assets
* Sees copper around $5,800 a tonne in Jan-March
(Recasts on forecast revision, adds comment)
TOKYO, Feb 6 Japanese trading house Marubeni
Corp on Monday raised its profit and dividend forecasts
for the current financial year due to gains from the sale of
solar power assets and firmer metals prices.
The revised guidance of 140 billion yen ($1.24 billion) in
net profit marked an 8-percent increase from an earlier forecast
and was in line with a consensus estimate of 144 billion yen
from 9 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
It came despite the company booking an impairment loss of
41.5 billion yen on its U.S. Mexican Gulf oil and gas assets for
the October to December quarter, with exploration uncovering
less reserves than expected.
Marubeni revised up its annual forecast as it expects to
book one-off gains of about 20 billion yen in the January-March
quarter from selling some of its solar power assets in Japan,
Marubeni CFO Nobuhiro Yabe told a news conference.
Stronger prices for copper and coal are also expected to
boost profits, he added.
Marubeni, which owns stakes in copper mines in Chile, is
assuming copper prices of $5,800 a tonne for the January-March
quarter. London copper stood around that level on
"We see further upside in copper prices in the mid-term,
though gains may not be so big," Yabe said.
Backed by healthy earnings, Marubeni boosted its dividend
forecast for the current year to March 31 to 21 yen a share,
against an earlier estimate of 19 yen and actual dividend of 21
yen a year earlier.
($1 = 112.5400 yen)
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Additional reporting by Aaron
Sheldrick; Editing by Joseph Radford)