Toyota Rises on Forecast for Profit to Gain 48% on North American Recovery

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, rose the most in more than two weeks in Tokyo trading after forecasting profit will increase this fiscal year on recovering U.S. sales.

Toyota gained 2.7 percent, the most since April 26, to close at 3,590 yen. Net income may rise 48 percent to 310 billion yen ($3.3 billion) in the period ending March 31, the company said in a statement after the market closed yesterday.

“I see this estimate as a minimum,” said Mamoru Kato, a Nagoya, Japan-based analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Center with a “neutral” rating on Toyota’s shares. The company’s profit from China is growing, and it estimated domestic sales “conservatively,” he said.

Toyota’s sales in North America, its biggest market, may climb 1.5 percent this fiscal year to 2.13 million vehicles, the Toyota City, Japan-based company said in the statement. The carmaker’s U.S. sales rose 24 percent in April as incentives buoyed demand for Corolla cars and Prius hybrids, easing the impact of recalls of about 8 million vehicles worldwide for defects linked to unintended acceleration.

The company posted net income of 112 billion yen for the fourth quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of 766 billion yen a year earlier. Toyota was projected to post a 48.3 billion yen profit, based on the average of four analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 49 percent to 5.28 trillion yen.

The carmaker’s U.S. sales dropped 20 percent in 2009 as industrywide deliveries slumped 21 percent to 10.4 million, the lowest level since 1982. Toyota boosted sales in the nation 41 percent in March, the final month of the company’s fiscal year, after adding discounts across its lineup.

Toyota estimated sales in Japan, its second-biggest market, will drop 11 percent this fiscal year to 1.92 million, while deliveries in other Asian countries will rise 11 percent to 1.09 million.

To contact the reporters on this story: Takako Iwatani in Tokyo at tiwatani@bloomberg.net; Makiko Kitamura in Tokyo at mkitamura1@bloomberg.net

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