April 2, 2014 2:00 am JST

NSK likely doubled operating profit in fiscal 2013

TOKYO -- NSK Ltd. is expected to post a group operating profit of 64 billion yen ($614 million) or so for fiscal 2013, nearly double on the year, thanks to the soft yen and strong sales of bearings and other autoparts.

     The Tokyo-based firm apparently trounced its guidance by as much as 1 billion yen.

     Sales likely climbed around 20% to some 860 billion yen. Aside from bearings, electric power steering systems were strong sellers as well. Demand for machine-tool bearings and ball screws recovered in the January-March quarter.

     The yen's tumble against the dollar and euro lifted operating profit by roughly 20 billion yen. Cost-cutting measures, such as winnowing out component suppliers, also played a role. NSK's operating profit margin likely improved by around 3 percentage points from last fiscal year to the mid-7% range.

     The company is expected to earn an operating profit of some 73 billion yen this fiscal year, marking its first record in seven years. Sales are expected to grow 6% from fiscal 2013's estimated results to about 910 billion yen.

     The autoparts business is seen growing, chiefly overseas in such regions as North America. Although the domestic market will be hit by the sales tax hike, demand is expected to remain firm as carmakers expand their exports. Demand for rail components and other products will probably rise as well.