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Honda posts 16% rise in Q2 profit and hikes outlook as motorcycles, yen help

Bangkok International Motor Show

By Satoshi Sugiyama

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan's Honda Motor Co posted on Wednesday a 16% rise in second-quarter profit and lifted its full-year outlook, as better pricing, strong sales of motorcycles and a weak yen helped it ride out semiconductor shortages.

While Japanese automakers, like many of their overseas rivals, have been hit by shortages of chips and supply chain snarls, Honda has been helped by robust performance in its motorcycle business, particularly in Asia.

The company also said it was helped by pricing that reflected its "increased product value" and by reducing consumer incentives.

The automaker raised its forecasts "to reflect our efforts to further improve profitability, higher automobile sales volume and the impact of the yen's depreciation", Honda Executive Vice President Kohei Takeuchi told a results briefing.

Still, he noted there were plenty of pressures, including inflation.

Operating profit totalled 231.2 billion yen ($1.59 billion)in the three months to end-September, short of the average estimate of 243.3 billion yen in a poll of 10 analysts by Refinitiv. The same period a year earlier, the company earned 198.9 billion yen.

Honda raised its full-year operating profit forecast to 870 billion yen from 830 billion yen for the year ending March 31 mainly helped by weak yen. That compares with a 922.05 billion yen average forecast by 24 analysts.

The automaker was forced to consistently cut vehicle production at two domestic factories as COVID-19 outbreaks and semiconductor shortages caused delays in parts shipments. Production of its Vezel sport-utility vehicle, Stepwgn minivan and Civic compact car were all hit.

Its global vehicle production for the first six months of the financial year was down 6.1% year on year while domestic production was up 5.5%.

($1 = 145.7500 yen)

(Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama; Editing by David Dolan and Muralikumar Anantharaman)