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TOKYO -- Japan's Honda Motor Co. posted a record annual profit for its latest fiscal year on robust overseas car sales and a one-time trading gain, but said Tuesday it expects the Japanese yen's strength will contribute to a decline in profit this year.

Separately, Honda said its chairman, Yoshihide Munekuni, plans to resign and become the company's adviser at the end of June. Munekuni, who has held the post for seven years, won't be immediately replaced, Honda said Tuesday.

For the fiscal year ended March 31, Tokyo-based Honda's net profit totaled 464 billion yen ($4.28 billion), up 8.8 percent from the previous record 426 billion yen a year earlier.

It was the third straight year that the automaker has reported record profits.

Still, last year's profit fell short of Honda's own forecast of 473 billion yen ($4.36 billion) and analysts' predictions ranging from 470 billion yen to 480 billion yen ($4.33 billion to $4.42 billion).

Sales rose 2.4 percent to 8.16 trillion yen ($75.2 billion) from 7.97 trillion yen the previous year, with the boxy Element and Pilot sport utility vehicle and Acura-brand TSX and TL sedans leading sales in North America, and the Jazz compact and Accord diesel sedan selling strongly in Europe. Motorcycle sales gains in Asia and South America also helped.

Honda said the popularity of its vehicles overseas helped offset lackluster domestic sales and the negative impact of a strong yen. The automaker also booked a special profit from derivatives trading.

The yen's rise against the U.S. dollar hurts exporters by lowering the value of repatriated earnings.

For the year through March 2005, Honda forecast a 16 percent decline in net profit to 390 billion yen ($3.59 billion) despite an expected 4.1 percent rise in sales to 8.5 trillion yen ($78.3 billion).

Honda shares fell 1.91 percent to 4,610 yen ($42.49) at the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/apbiz_story.asp?category=1310&slug=Earns Honda Motor
 

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Ray said:
For the fiscal year ended March 31, Tokyo-based Honda's net profit totaled 464 billion yen ($4.28 billion), up 8.8 percent from the previous record 426 billion yen a year earlier.
That's quite a profit! :eek:
I expect that to continue to rise with the upcoming release of the new RL.
Now if we could just get Honda to send us the EP3-R, and DC5-R ;)
 
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