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article imageNissan confirms profit plunge as job cuts reported

By AFP     Jul 24, 2019 in World

Japanese car giant Nissan confirmed Wednesday it will report a plunge in first quarter operating profit as media reported the struggling automarker plans to cut more than 10,000 jobs worldwide.

The firm is working to turn around its fortunes after being plunged into crisis by the arrest of its former chief Carlos Ghosn, and is fighting falling sales in the United States and Europe.

On Wednesday, a day before it announces first-quarter results, Nissan confirmed that it would report a plunge in operating profit, but declined comment on news it plans to cut thousands of jobs.

The Nikkei business daily said earlier Wednesday that Nissan would announce a 90 percent drop in operating profit for the first quarter because of declining US sales, with the cost of developing electric vehicles and autonomous driving technologies weighing on profits.

"While the financial results are still being reviewed, the operating profit reported in the Nikkei Shimbun article was broadly accurate," Nissan said in a press release, declining to offer details before the official earnings announcement.

Motoo Nagai, a member of the board and chair of the firm's audit committe, said the company would address the job cut reports on Thursday.

Nissan has seen weak sales in the US and Europe
Nissan has seen weak sales in the US and Europe
ANDY BUCHANAN, AFP/File

"It's not a simple restructuring. It's about revitalisation to make Nissan grow again," he said at an informal briefing.

Nissan had already said it planned to trim 4,800 posts from its global workforce of around 139,000, but the further cuts reflect the firm's ongoing struggles.

In May, it reported net profit fell to a near-decade low and warned of "a difficult business environment" for the next 12 months.

The job cuts are likely to hit some factories in South America and other regions where Nissan has low profitability, Kyodo news agency reported.

- Governance overhaul -

The company has seen weak sales in the US and Europe, and has also faced tensions with its French partner Renault, which owns 43 percent of the Japanese manufacturer.

Nissan is currently undergoing an overhaul intended to strengthen governance after the Ghosn scandal.

In May, it reported net profits for the fiscal year to March of 319 billion yen ($2.9 billion) -- the lowest amount since 2009/10 when the company was struggling in the wake of the global financial crisis.

It was a decline of 57 percent from the previous fiscal year and the profit outlook for the current fiscal year was forecast to be even worse, at 170 billion yen.

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn is is awaiting trial on charges of under-reporting millions of d...
Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn is is awaiting trial on charges of under-reporting millions of dollars in salary and of using company funds for personal expenses
Behrouz MEHRI, AFP

Ghosn, who has been sacked from auto industry leadership roles, is awaiting trial in Japan on charges of under-reporting millions of dollars in salary and of using company funds for personal expenses.

Last month, Nissan shareholders voted in favour of a series of reforms, including the establishment of three new oversight committees responsible for the appointment of senior officials, pay issues and auditing.

They also approved the election of 11 directors as the firm restructures, among them two Renault executives as well as current Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa.

The reforms are designed to put Nissan on a more stable footing after the shock caused by the arrest of Ghosn, considered one of the auto industry's most powerful executives.

Ghosn forged a three-way alliance between Nissan, Renault and Japan's Mitsubishi Motors that is the world's biggest-selling auto group.

But relations in the alliance have been seriously strained by Ghosn's arrest, which has excerbated long-standing tensions over how closely the automakers should be integrated.

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