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Mitsubishi Motors Expects Profits to Rise 25% This Year

Mitsubishi Motors said on Monday annual operating profit would rise by a better-than-expected 25 percent on a rapid rebound in production and sales after the March 11 earthquake.

Mitsubishi's electric vehicle i-miev have been used in the wrecked cities in northeastern Japan not because of any special ability to claw their way over mountains of debris, but because they were able to “refuel” at common electrical outlets.
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Mitsubishi's electric vehicle i-miev have been used in the wrecked cities in northeastern Japan not because of any special ability to claw their way over mountains of debris, but because they were able to “refuel” at common electrical outlets.

The carmaker predicted 50 billion yen ($622 million) in operating profit this financial year, topping analysts' expectations of 32.1 billion yen from Thomson Reuters Starmine SmartEstimate, which puts more weight on recent forecasts by top-ranked analysts.

"There was for a time concern that MMC's production would be seriously disrupted. However, these initial concerns have been dispelled," the company said in a statement.

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck northeastern Japan forced Japan's automakers to slash production as parts ran out. Auto sales in Japan also tumbled in the wake of the disaster as consumers avoided buying big ticket items.

But in the six months to September 30, Mitsubishi Motors expects production to recover to around 90 percent of its pre-quake plan, and to exceed it in the second half of the business year.

Annual global sales will rise 9 percent to 1.1 million vehicles, lead by a 15 percent gain in North America and a 13 percent rise in the rest of the world excluding Japan and Europe.

On April 28 the company said operating profit in the year ended March 2011 tripled to 40 billion yen. The company, like other automakers, at the time declined to provide an outlook because of uncertainty following the quake.

Mitsubishi Motors' shares gained 1 percent in Tokyo trading to 95 yen.