Nissan slashes profit forecasts after inspection scandal

This Nov. 10, 2017 photo shows a gallery of the Nissan Motor Co. at its global headquarters in Yokohama. (AP)
Updated 08 February 2018
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Nissan slashes profit forecasts after inspection scandal

TOKYO: Japanese car giant Nissan on Thursday slashed its forecast for full-year operating profit after admitting that a damaging inspection scandal last year had “adversely impacted” the firm’s performance.
Nissan said it now expects operating profit of 565 billion yen ($5.2 billion) for the fiscal year to March 2018, a drop of 12.4 percent from its previous estimate in November.
“During the period, the Group’s performance was adversely impacted by special items related to the final vehicle inspection issue in Japan, along with slowing sales growth, negative pricing trends and inventory adjustments in the US market,” it said in a statement.
Nissan was forced to recall some 1.2 million vehicles after admitting in October that staff without proper authorization had conducted final inspections on some vehicles intended for the domestic market before they were shipped to dealers.
The automaker suspended all domestic production for a few weeks, sending its passenger car sales plummeting more than 55 percent in Japan in October.
In a bid to atone for the scandal, chief executive officer Hiroto Saikawa said he was “voluntarily” returning his pay, along with other executives.
Vice president Joji Tagawa told reporters that it had been a “challenging” period for the carmaker but saw some light at the end of the tunnel.
“We remain focused on improving the state of our business performance and our financial results despite market headwinds ... we expect to normalize our operations by the end of the fiscal year,” he said.
“We take it very seriously so we are putting in place various measures to cope with the situation.”
Nissan’s operating profit for the nine months to December 2017 were 364.2 billion yen, a 27.6 percent decline from the same period last year.
Nissan sold a total of 4.1 million vehicles — a gain of 2.9 percent on-year — but again the inspection scandal took its toll.
There was a 3.4-percent dip in car sales in Japan because of the inspection issue, Nissan said.


Saudi minister Al-Falih says Aramco IPO likely in 2019

Updated 25 May 2018
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Saudi minister Al-Falih says Aramco IPO likely in 2019

  • Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih: “We are ready, the company (Saudi Aramco) essentially has ticked all the boxes. We’re simply waiting for a market readiness for the IPO.”
  • Khalid Al-Falih: “Most likely it will be in 2019 but we will not know until the announcement has been made. All I could say is stay tuned.”

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is most likely to hold the initial public offering (IPO) of oil giant Aramco in 2019, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Friday, confirming a delay from the initial plan to list the company this year.

“The timing I think will depend on the readiness of the market, rather than the readiness of the company or the readiness of Saudi Arabia,” Khalid Al-Falih, who’s also the company’s chairman, said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia on Friday.

“We are ready, the company essentially has ticked all the boxes,” he said. “We’re simply waiting for a market readiness for the IPO.”

For almost two years, Saudi officials said the IPO was “on track, on time” for the second half of 2018. But for the first time in March they suggested it could be delayed until 2019.

“Most likely it will be in 2019 but we will not know until the announcement has been made,” Al-Falih said. “All I could say is stay tuned.”

The Aramco IPO would be a once-in-a-generation event for financial markets. Saudi officials said they hope to raise a record $100 billion by selling a 5 percent stake, valuing the company at more than $2 trillion and dwarfing the $25 billion raised by Chinese retailer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in 2014.