Nissan’s net profit plunged over 87% during Ghosn scandal period

YOKOHAMA: Crisis-hit Japanese automaker Nissan said Thursday its net profit plunged more than 87% for the nine months to December as it struggles with weak demand and fallout from the arrest of former boss Carlos Ghosn.

Nissan revised downwards its full-year sales and profit forecasts but warned that the impact from the spreading coronavirus crisis was not yet included in their figures.

Net profit for April-December dropped 87.6% to 39.3 billion yen, on sales down 12.5% at 7.5 trillion yen for the period.

The profit decline was mainly due to weak sales in the United States as well as Japan, where the impact of the nation’s sales tax hike hit auto demand, the company said in a statement.

Nissan, which downgraded annual forecasts three months ago, said its bottom-line profit was now forecast to be 65 billion yen for the fiscal year to March 2020, compared with an earlier estimate of 110 billion yen.

Full-year sales are estimated at 10.2 trillion yen, down from a previous forecast of 10.6 trillion yen.

It was Nissan’s first earnings announcement since Ghosn dramatically jumped bail and fled Japan, where he was awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges.