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Honda sees quarterly profits jump

Honda's January-March profit has jumped 61% as the Japanese car maker sold more cars and motorcycles in a turnaround from a disaster-battered 2011.

It forecast record global sales of 4.3 million vehicles for this fiscal year.

Honda, which makes the Accord sedan, Fit subcompact and Asimo robot, reported net profit of 71.5 billion yen (£546 million) for the fiscal fourth quarter, up from 44.5 billion yen a year earlier.

The results underline a recovery at all Japanese car makers from the sales plunge that hit last year after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disrupted the supply of auto parts from north-eastern Japan.

Tokyo-based Honda's quarterly sales improved 8.7% to 2.41 trillion yen, mainly because of rising sales in Japan and North America.

For the fiscal year ended March 31, Honda's profit fell 60% to 211.4 billion yen due to the disruptions to production from the tsunami disaster in Japan and last year's flooding in Thailand where Honda as assembly lines.

The car maker has also been hurt by an unfavourable exchange rate. A strong yen erodes the overseas earnings of Japanese exporters such as Honda. The dollar been trading near 80 yen compared with 86 yen the previous year.

But Honda is confident of a rebound, forecasting record global vehicle sales and an annual net profit of 470 billion yen, more than double what it earned last fiscal year.

It sold 3.1 million vehicles worldwide for the fiscal year ended March 31.

The recovery tale is likely to be repeated at other Japanese car makers. Japan's number once car manufactuer, Toyota, reports earnings on May 9. Nissan, the country's number two car maker, reports earnings on May 11.

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