Hitachi Construction Has a Net Loss as Chinese Sales Fall

Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. (6305), the world’s biggest maker of giant excavators used in mining, had a third-quarter loss as Chinese sales slumped and falling coal prices slowed sales to miners in Southeast Asia.

The company had a loss of 3.4 billion yen ($37 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of 6.6 billion yen a year earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations based on nine-month results released today. The company left its full-year profit forecast unchanged at 33 billion yen.

Hitachi, which is also Japan’s second-largest producer of construction equipment, follows Komatsu Ltd. (6301) in lowering quarterly profit after China’s supply glut for excavators hurt earnings in the biggest construction equipment market and mining activity in Indonesia, the world’s biggest exporter of power station coal, declined.

Sales are seen at 740 billion yen for the year through March 31, leaving its October estimate unchanged, according to the company’s statement.

Hitachi Construction Machinery said today in a separate statement that industrywide sales of excavators in China will likely fall 40 percent in the current year, the biggest drop of any region. Indonesian sales will slide 23 percent. Excavator sales in Japan are forecast to increase 18 percent, while U.S. sales are seen increasing 27 percent, the statement said.

Indonesia has cut its benchmark price for coal by 20 percent to $87.55 a metric ton this month from $109.29 a year ago, according to the Directorate General of Coal and Minerals at the energy ministry.

Hitachi’s operating margin increased by 1.35 percentage points to 6.71 percent in the year ended March 31, almost half the level of Komatsu, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Hitachi Construction Machinery, half owned by electronics maker Hitachi Ltd. (6501), closed up 3.8 percent at 2,030 yen in Tokyo trading, extending this year’s gain to 13 percent. The results were released after the market close.

To contact the reporter on this story: Masumi Suga in Tokyo at msuga@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net

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