TOKYO Japan's Toyota Motor Corp posted a surprise 22 per cent increase in third-quarter operating profit, as a weaker yen and higher sales volumes helped the automaker overcome a jolt from soaring raw-materials costs.
According to Refinitiv data, the operating profit for the three months ended December 31 was 956.7 billion yen $7.28 billion, beating the average 764.54 billion yen profit estimated by 10 analysts. Toyota had a 784.4 billion yen profit in the same period a year ago.
The world's largest automaker, along with many global manufacturers, is struggling with the continued fallout from semiconductor shortage and rising costs.
It trimmed its annual production target by about 1 per cent, to around 9.1 million vehicles while it stuck to its forecast for an annual profit of 2.4 trillion yen for the year to end-March. According to a presentation that accompanyes the results, the company said it was striving to quickly evaluate alternative semiconductors and take other measures to secure stable procurement of chips.
Toyota profited from a plunge in the yen in October last year. The Japanese currency hit a 32 year low of 151.94 to the dollar on October 21, prompting authorities to intervene.
Toyota said last month that its chief executive, Akio Toyoda, would step down as head of the company his grandfather founded in April. He will hand over to the leader of Toyota's Lexus luxury brand as the shift to electric vehicles challenges the car giant.
Toyota shares were down 0.4 per cent just before the earnings release, reversing losses immediately after and were up 0.6 per cent at 1,909 yen by 0434 GMT.