OSAKA: Japanese tractor maker Kubota Corp expects to post an annual operating profit of 5 per cent, beating its forecast of a loss as strong sales of tractors in the United States and of agricultural machinery in Thailand outweigh costs related to its purchase of Norway’s Kverneland last year.
Kubota would easily beat its most current forecast of a 0.6 per cent operating profit fall to 105 billion yen ($1.2 billion) in the year to March, company Chairman and President Yasuo Matsumoto told Reuters in an interview on Friday.
The Osaka-based company aims to lift revenues by about 10 per cent in the year starting in April, while targeting a 15 per cent sales rise in the United States, citing the weaker yen and strong demand for its diesel engines in Southeast Asia.
Kubota assumed a rate of 80 yen to the dollar and 100 yen to the euro in 2012. The weak yen would help overseas sales in calendar year 2013, to be posted in the year to March 2014, Matsumoto said.
The yen has fallen more than 13 per cent against the dollar over the past two months. Shinzo Abe, who became Japan’s Prime Minister late last month, has called on the central bank to take aggressive steps to revitalise the ailing economy.
“The basis (for expansion in the United States) will be through acquisitions,” Matsumoto said, adding that he hoped to set any purchases in motion this year. “We have no intention to go into 200-horsepower tractors on our own.”
Kubota, which commands about 70 per cent market share in Thailand, wants to develop new revenue streams overseas, and to expand its lineup of large tractors to win more market share in the US and in Europe.