February 5, 2018 / 8:49 AM / 10 months ago

Mitsubishi Motors Q3 profit more than doubles, lifts profit forecast

TOKYO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Motors Corp on Monday said its operating profit more than doubled during the third quarter as higher sales in Asia and a weaker yen helped the automaker recover from last year’s mileage cheating scandal.

Japan’s No. 7 automaker raised its full-year forecast for operating profit to jump nearly 19-fold to 95 billion yen ($864.97 million) as it sees a more positive impact from currency movements than initially expected.

It also raised its full-year dividend forecast to 17 yen per share from its previous forecast for 14 yen, and projects a net profit of 100 billion yen, reversing a 198.5 billion yen loss last year.

Mitsubishi reported an operating profit of 20.4 billion yen in October-December, surging from 8.4 billion yen last year when it grappled with the financial fallout of an admission that it had overstated the mileage of some models.

The result was in line with a median forecast for 20.3 billion yen from four analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Mitsubishi Motor’s rosy outlook reflects its rebound from the scandal as well as expectations of further growth in Asia and cost savings from its alliance with Nissan Motor Co Ltd , which took a 34 percent stake in the automaker in 2016.

Under its three-year strategy plan unveiled in October, Mitsubishi Motors plans to boost annual global sales by 30 percent, focusing on growth in Southeast Asia, China and the United States.

It also seeks a comeback in Japan, where sales were suspended for some months in 2016 after the mileage scandal, and plans to ramp up capital spending and R&D investment, aiming to raise competitiveness in new technologies including electric vehicles.

As part of the alliance that includes Nissan and Renault SA , Mitsubishi Motors is also targeting cost-savings of more than 100 billion yen over the next three years due to development and procurement efficiencies. ($1 = 109.8300 yen) (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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