UPDATE 2-Komatsu, Hitachi Construction warn of profit slide

lunes 27 de abril de 2009 12:35 CEST

* Komatsu, Hitachi Construction book Q4 operating losses

* Komatsu sees 53 pct drop in 2009/10 profit

* Hitachi Construction forecasts 45 pct profit fall

* Both firms see double-digit sales growth in China

By Yuko Inoue

TOKYO, April 27 (Reuters) - Japanese construction machinery makers Komatsu (6301.T: Cotización) and Hitachi Construction (6305.T: Cotización) warned their profits would roughly halve this financial year after swinging into losses in the latest quarter.

A sudden collapse in demand for construction machinery and mining equipment late last year battered the sector as housing and infrastructure projects stalled and miners cancelled development plans amid global economic turmoil, leading to a buildup of unsold excavators, wheel loaders and dumpster trucks.

The two firms are cutting costs and production to shrink bloated inventory, with a view that global demand will fall by around a fifth in the 2009 financial year, after a contraction of more than 15 percent last year.

"It would be hard to see earnings recover at the two firms until the global economy shows a clear sign of recovery, accompanied by demand growth in the big U.S. and European markets," said Tomomi Yamashita, fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management Co.   Continuación...