Suzuki says full-year net profit rises 19%

Japan's Suzuki Motor said Thursday net profit rose 19.3 percent in the year to March as cost-cutting efforts absorbed a decline in sales largely due to a strong yen and a slump in India.

The motorcycle and small car specialist said it earned 53.9 billion yen ($680 million) in fiscal 2011, up from 45.2 billion yen a year earlier, while sales in the period slipped 3.7 percent to 2.51 trillion yen.

The drop in revenue was partly offset by strong domestic sales in Japan, which rallied in the second half of the year as the impact of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami began to decline, Suzuki said in a statement.

Shipments abroad were hit by a sales slump in India combined with the yen's appreciation, which makes Japanese exporters' products pricier overseas and shrinks the value of their foreign-earned income.

"Overseas, sales decreased year-on-year due to the impact of the yen appreciation, decrease of exports especially to Europe, and a sales decrease in India," Suzuki said in a statement.

The firm also said it expects net profit to climb about 30.0 percent to 70 billion yen on higher sales of 2.60 trillion yen in the current fiscal year ended March 2013.

Last year the yen hit record highs against the dollar which, compounded with the quake-tsunami disaster and flooding in Thailand, took a heavy toll on Japanese manufacturers.

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