TOKYO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Mazda Motor Corp said it is expecting record profits this financial year, raising its annual operating profit forecast by 12.5 percent to 180 billion yen ($1.8 billion) citing a weaker yen and strong sales of the Mazda3.
That was in line with the average estimate of 182.3 billion yen in a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 19 analysts, and higher than the record 162.1 billion yen it booked in the year ending March 2008. Last year, it booked 53.9 billion yen in annual operating profit.
Japan's fifth biggest car maker also said it now plans to pay a dividend of 1 yen for this financial year that ends in March, the first time in four years it will have distributed a dividend. It last paid dividends in the year ended March 2010 when it offered 3 yen.
For the October-December third quarter, Mazda posted 50.6 billion yen in operating profit, beating expectations and six times more than what it booked in the same period last year.