Mitsubishi Estate Earnings Jump as Housing Profit Improves

Mitsubishi Estate Co., Japan’s biggest developer by market value, said net income rose 76 percent as profit margins improved in its residential business.

Net income gained to 43.6 billion yen ($443 million) in the six months ended Sept. 30 from 24.8 billion yen a year earlier, the company said in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange today. Sales climbed 10 percent to 481 billion yen.

Mitsubishi Estate is enjoying last-minute buying demand ahead of a consumption tax increase in April. The number of apartments offered for sale in Tokyo and surrounding areas will rise to as many as 55,000 units this year, the highest level since 2007, according to an estimate by the Real Estate Economic Research Institute Co.

The Tokyo-based developer kept its profit forecast at 58 billion yen for the year ending March 31, on sales of 1.07 trillion yen.

Japan plans to double the sales tax rate to 10 percent from 5 percent by 2015, with the first increase to 8 percent scheduled in April next year to tackle the nation’s swelling debt.

The developer sold 1,852 apartments in the first half, compared with 1,847 units sold in the same period last year, according to the statement. Operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods, at its residential business gained 47 percent to 4.3 billion yen in the period from 2.9 billion yen a year earlier, it said.

Office Business

Mitsubishi Estate said last month that it sold all 22 apartment units that cost as much as 542 million yen near the Imperial Palace.

Operating profit at the sales and office leasing businesses fell 9.9 percent to 53.2 billion yen, the company said.

Mitsubishi Estate’s shares were 1.4 percent lower at 2,797 yen at the close of trading in Tokyo, following the earnings announcement.

Mitsubishi Estate is in its second 10-year redevelopment plan for the Marunouchi business district, which helps generate more than 90 percent of the company’s profit.

Marunouchi is Tokyo’s most expensive office area and home to companies such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS AG.

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