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Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008

Nomura posts loss but expects gains via Lehman acquisitions

Staff writer

Nomura Holdings Inc. said Tuesday its group net loss widened to ¥72.9 billion in the quarter that ended in September due to losses related to the global financial turmoil.

Nomura posted a net loss of ¥11.7 billion in the same quarter last year.

The red ink mainly came from overseas. Its global markets division posted a pretax loss of ¥86.7 billion.

The brokerage said it posted losses on credit, derivative and stock trading due to the world financial fears.

The domestic sales division posted a pretax profit of ¥5.3 billion, down 67.1 percent from the previous quarter. Nomura said the domestic division expanded its customer base with 180,000 new accounts.

Nomura acquired Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s employees and businesses in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and India.

By inheriting the Lehman divisions, Nomura said it acquired world-class human resources, a wide customer base and information technology infrastructure.

With the acquisitions, the company aims to rebuild its wholesale division and reduce operating costs.

The customer bases of both companies complement each other, Nomura said.

Nomura said it is aiming for a profit toward the end of next business year via the synergy effects of Nomura and the Lehman divisions.

Nomura posted a net loss of ¥76.6 billion in the previous quarter to June, and ¥153.9 billion in the quarter to March.

Its net loss of the first two quarters of the current business year amounted to ¥149.5 billion, compared with a profit of ¥64.2 billion marked in the same period last year.

Honda profits down

Staff report

Honda Motor Co. said Tuesday its group operating profit and net profit fell by nearly half on year for the July-September quarter due to the surging yen and a sharp drop in U.S. vehicle sales.

Operating profit tumbled 48 percent to ¥148.8 billion in the quarter, while net profit was down 40.9 percent to ¥123.3 billion.

Honda also lowered its forecast for the business year to March. It now expects a ¥550 billion group operating profit, against its previous forecast of ¥630 billion announced in July.

"The market conditions moved drastically and beyond our anticipation," Executive Vice President Koichi Kondo told a news conference. "We are making this (earnings) forecast because the currency has fluctuated in recent weeks."

It was the second time Honda has revised its earnings forecasts for the 2008 business year following an initial forecast in April for operating profit of ¥650 billion.

The ¥550 billion operating profit is 42.3 percent lower than the ¥953.1 billion logged the previous year. The forecast is based on an exchange rate of ¥103 to the dollar and ¥145 to the euro. In the last business year, the figures were ¥114 and ¥162.

A strong yen erodes profits earned overseas by export-oriented Japanese automakers such as Honda.

A ¥1 rise against the dollar and the euro translates to losses of about ¥18 billion and ¥3 billion, Kondo said.

Furthermore, the recent U.S. credit crunch has slowed vehicle sales in North America, undermining Japanese car makers' profits. In the July-September quarter, Honda's operating profit there plunged 80.6 percent from a year earlier to ¥22.5 billion.

Reflecting the gloomier forecast, Honda had earlier decided to cut production in Britain by 22,000 units over five months starting in November.

Honda already cut its U.S. production of large vehicles mainly sold in North America by 22,000 units in the wake of the financial turmoil and gasoline price hikes.

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The Japan Times

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