Japan's Mitsubushi UFJ posts 68% profit rise

Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Tuesday posted an annual profit surge of 68.3 percent on lower credit costs, bond trading gains and a conversion of its stake in Morgan Stanley.

Japan's biggest bank said its net profit came in at 981.3 billion yen ($12.28 billion) in the year through March 2012, up from 583.08 billion yen a year earlier.

Revenue rose 9.2 percent to 4.95 trillion yen, it said.

Credit costs fell by 160.6 billion yen from a year earlier partly due to a decrease in losses on loan write-offs, the bank said.

The Japanese lender owns 22.4 percent of Morgan Stanley after offering the Wall Street giant a $9.0 billion lifeline following the global financial crisis in 2008.

In June, it changed the ownership stake to common shares from preferred shares with a dividend, gaining 290 billion yen from the conversion.

For the current fiscal year to March 2013, the bank forecasted that its net profit would be 670 billion yen.

Mitsubishi said its exposure to debt-hit Europe was minimal, with "limited" activity related to the continent's banks and no holdings of Greek or Irish government bonds.

"(Our) exposures to Spain and Italy were mainly towards the infrastructure sector, such as electricity, gas and telecommunications," it said.

"(There were) limited exposures to financial institutions."

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