Nissan Slashes Full-Year Outlook Again With Dividend in Limbo
(Bloomberg) -- Nissan Motor Co. cut its full-year profit outlook for the second time in as many quarters and scrapped its year-end dividend, renewing concern about the troubled automaker’s ability return cash to investors, especially top shareholder and partner Renault SA.
Dogged by falling sales in its biggest markets and instability in its most senior management ranks, Nissan reduced its full-year operating profit forecast to 85 billion yen ($774 million), down from an earlier estimate of 150 billion yen. Nissan had initially projected an operating profit of 230 billion yen for the fiscal year through March, but trimmed that last quarter. A year ago, it earned 318 billion yen — which at the time marked its lowest annual income in a decade.
The total dividend for the current fiscal year will be 10 yen a share, including prior payouts, Nissan said. Shares of the company fell 1.5% to close at 568.5 yen before the earnings release, but after a report foreshadowing the poor results.
In November, the Japanese carmaker withdrew its dividend outlook after having cut the shareholder payout in May — the first reduction since it suspended dividends in 2009 amid an industrywide recession. The Yokohama-based manufacturer is conserving cash as it embarks on 12,500 job cuts globally, while at the same time is seeking to keep up pace with an industry that is rapidly embracing electric vehicles and self-driving cars.
The results underscore the challenges facing Makoto Uchida, who took over as Nissan’s chief executive officer in December and is seeking to restructure the company’s two-decade alliance with France’s Renault, which has itself recently named a new CEO.
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