Nissan sees $4.5 bln annual operating loss as pandemic hinders turnaround efforts

Credit: REUTERS/ISSEI KATO

Nissan Motor Co said on Tuesday it expects to make an annual operating loss for a second straight year, as the coronavirus pandemic hampers its efforts to emerge from a deep slump in sales.

Adds first quarter results, background

TOKYO, July 28 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co 7201.T said on Tuesday it expects to make an annual operating loss for a second straight year, as the coronavirus pandemic hampers its efforts to emerge from a deep slump in sales.

It forecast an operating loss of 470 billion yen ($4.5 billion), which would be its biggest according to Nissan data that goes back to 1977 and much larger than a consensus estimate of a 262.8 billion yen loss drawn from 20 analysts polled by Refinitiv.

It predicted revenue would plunge by a fifth to 7.8 trillion yen and global vehicle sales would fall 16.3%.

Years of aggressive expansion, particularly in emerging markets, has left Japan's No. 2 automaker with dismal margins, an ageing portfolio and a tarnished brand.

Still reeling from the 2018 arrest and ouster of former CEO Carlos Ghosn, Nissan unveiled a far-reaching restructuring plan in May that calls for a dramatic reduction in production lines and its vehicle model range.

In the first quarter, Nissan posted an operating loss of 153.9 billion yen, its second consecutive quarterly loss after falling 94.8 billion yen into the red in January-March.

Nissan's woes have highlighted the fragility of its automaking partnership with France's Renault SA RENA.PA which has also announced a major restructuring as it rows back on policies pursued by Ghosn, now a fugitive wanted on charges of financial misconduct in Tokyo. Ghosn denies the charges.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp 7211.T, a junior partner in the three-way alliance, saw its shares tumble some 13% on Tuesday after sales in Southeast Asia plunged 70% during the April-June quarter.

($1 = 105.6500 yen)

(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

((naomi.tajitsu@thomsonreuters.com; +81364411078; Reuters Messaging: naomi.tajitsu.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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