Komatsu Apr-Dec profit sinks 82 pct; keeps outlook

TOKYO, Jan 28 (BestGrowthStock) – Construction machinery maker
Komatsu Ltd (6301.T: ) reported an 82 percent plunge in operating
profit for the nine months to December as sales remained far
below levels before the global downturn, and it kept its forecast
for profit to halve in the year ending in March.

Komatsu, the world’s second-biggest maker of earth-moving
equipment after Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N: ) of the United States,
said its operating profit fell to 36.10 billion yen ($400
million) in the April-December period from 200.17 billion yen a
year earlier.

Komatsu maintained its forecast for an operating profit of 72
billion yen for the year to March 2010, in line with the average
forecast of 72.24 billion yen in a poll of 22 analysts by Thomson
Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales in the global construction and mining equipment sector
have stayed far below levels before the financial crisis slashed
demand for housing and infrastructure projects, hammering sales
of machines such as hydraulic excavators, wheel loaders and dump
trucks.

But Komatsu’s earnings have been recovering steadily from
quarter to quarter this financial year, buoyed by growing demand
in emerging markets like China, where it has a much bigger
exposure than Caterpillar and Japanese rival Hitachi Construction
(6305.T: ).

Shares of Komatsu rose 15 percent in the last three months of
2009, outperforming the benchmark Nikkei (.N225: ) average’s 4
percent rise.

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(Reporting by Chris Gallagher)

Komatsu Apr-Dec profit sinks 82 pct; keeps outlook