TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp.'s first-half earnings were hurt by the stronger yen, although an accounting change masked some of the profit fall.
Separately, Toyota unit Daihatsu Motor Co. posted sharply higher first-half profits as it benefited from booming Japanese sales of its specialty, minivehicles.
Toyota's consolidated, or group, net income for the six months to Sept. 30 rose 4.7 percent to 201.7 billion, or $1.9 billion at current exchange rates. Toyota said strong sales of such new models as the Vitz/Yaris in Japan and Europe and the Tundra pickup in the United States, plus a lower effective tax rate, countered the stronger yen.
However, Toyota said that if the year-earlier accounts had been tallied under the new accounting rules that governed the latest term, net income in the latest term would have fallen 16.3 percent.
Revenues rose 0.6 percent to $58.2 billion.
On a pretax basis, Toyota's group profits slid 12.4 percent to $3.3 billion. Much of the drop was due to the yen's strengthening from 138 to the dollar a year earlier, to 117 to the dollar in the latest term. When the yen strengthens, Japanese companies book lower yen profits for every dollar of profit taken in abroad.
More accounting changes lie ahead. One will force Toyota and other Japanese companies to state fully the extent of their pension underfundings. Executive Vice President Tadaaki Jagawa predicted that Toyota's results for the year to March 31, 2000, will show that Toyota has a consolidated unfunded pension liability of about $5.6 billion.
At Daihatsu, parent-company net profits more than tripled to $55.7 million, from $17.9 million a year earlier, as revenues jumped 28.6 percent to $3.9 billion.
Higher volume was the leading contributor to the profit surge.
Daihatsu provided group figures for the latest half year, in line with yet another accounting-rule change that becomes fully effective at the end of the fiscal year. But it did not offer year-earlier comparison figures, since it has not previously been required to release half-year numbers on a group basis.
Daihatsu's first-half group net was $28.1 million. That was less than the Daihatsu parent-only net profits due to losses at subsidiaries. However, that amount was nearly equal to group net for the entire fiscal year ended March 31, 1999.