Marubeni raises FY profit, dividend forecast on robust power, coal business

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TOKYO, Feb 3 (Reuters) -Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp 8002.T on Friday raised its forecast for net profit and the dividend for the year to March 31, thanks to stronger gains from its U.K. electric power business and higher prices for coking coal and iron ore.

Annual net profit is now forecast at a record 530 billion yen ($4.1 billion), up 4% from its November outlook of 510 billion yen, while the dividend is now expected at 78 yen per share against 75 yen previously.

"Earnings of our U.K. wholesale and retail power unit called SmartestEnergy have been robust, while our coking coal and iron ore businesses in Australia have continued to generate healthy profits," Marubeni Chief Financial Officer Takayuki Furuya told a news conference.

For the April-December period, its net profit grew 41.5% to record 463.5 billion yen.

"We have also decided to enhance shareholder returns as we have reinforced our earnings base and financial position," Furuya said.

The new policy include progressive dividend scheme to reflect medium- and long-term profit growth, with an initial annual dividend being set at 78 yen per share.

Marubeni will also conduct a flexible share buyback with the aim of improving capital efficiency. The amount and timing of the buyback will be determined based on its new target of a total payout ratio of around 30%-35%, it said.

($1 = 128.4800 yen)

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Tom Hogue


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