TEPCO, the operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, on Wednesday dramatically slashed its fiscal-year loss projection, citing asset sales and cost-cutting for the change.
The utility said it now expects to lose 45 billion yen ($564 million) this year instead of the 160 billion yen initially forecast, although it still faces huge post-disaster compensation costs and higher power generation expenses, despite a government bailout and a price hike.
It also said its losses narrowed to 299.48 billion yen for the six months to September, compared with 627.3 billion yen in the same period of 2011.
The company was effectively nationalised after receiving 1.0 trillion yen of taxpayer money to stay in business this year as it struggled to survive after the atomic meltdown at its Fukushima Daiichi plant that followed the quake-tsunami disaster on March 11, 2011.
Fallout from the utility's reactors contaminated surrounding farmland and forced tens of thousands of area residents to flee from their home and businesses in the worst atomic crisis in a generation.
Despite the improving results, TEPCO said its first-half costs rose due to firing up expensive thermal power stations as anti-nuclear sentiment kept its atomic reactors idled.
TEPCO said it earned 110.2 billion yen after selling assets, including stock investments, while overhauling its retirement pension plan.
In July, the government allowed TEPCO, one of the world's biggest utilities, to raise household electricity rates in its service area, including Tokyo, by an average 8.46 percent.
As a result, first-half sales rose 14.9 percent to 2.88 trillion yen, the company said.
It hopes to return to profitability in 2014.
The firm posted a 781 billion yen loss in the most recent fiscal year, when it had to boost fossil fuel imports as Japan switched off its reactors.
Just two reactors have been restarted out of a possible 50.
The clean-up of TEPCO's plant is expected to take decades, with scientists warning that some settlements may have to be abandoned.
The public bailout that TEPCO received gives the government 50.11 percent of the utility's voting rights, while the deal has an option allowing the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund to raise that stake to nearly 76 percent.