In my report from Toyota’s quarterly results, there was one thing I forgot to mention decided to keep for later. As long as I have been going to these things, and it has been a while, the first question has always been given to a Nikkei reporter. Old Japanese custom, like AP (and recently Reuters) at the Whitehouse. As long as I have been going to these things, the Nikkei reporter always asked when Toyota wants to make a profit and pay taxes at home. That kabuki dance is disguised as “when can we expect positive results on an unconsolidated basis?” The folks in the room need no translation, they roll their eyes and pens, or check their Brakkubely. That’s a Blackberry for you. This time, it was different.
Keeping with traditions, the first question went to the Nikkei reporter. Keeping with traditions, the Nikkei reporter asked about Toyota making profit and paying taxes at home reporting positive results on an unconsolidated basis. Takahiko Ijichi was prepared for the question.
Ijichi begged forgiveness for having had to book an operating loss of 46.2 billion yen ($500 million) for the last quarter, because this is “where expenses seem to be concentrated”, but for the nine months, Toyota is in the green to the tune of 21.5 billion yen ($230 million) in at home Nipponese operating income. For the full year, Toyota expects 150 billion yen ($1.6 billion) in at home operating income, of which 140 billion yen ($1.5 billion) go on account of an improving exchange rate, Ijichi said, thereby also answering a question from the ranks of the TTAC commentariat.
Ijichi had even better news for folks who feign concern about Toyota making profits and paying taxes at home in Japan, as opposed to raking it in in far-away places such as America or Southeast-Asia, only to dump it into a strong yen-lined black hole at home:
“For the first time in five years, we now have a clear prospect of achieving positive operating income on a non-consolidated basis.”
As long as the yen is going into the right direction, that is. The way it stands, the Nikkei will have to re-write the kabuki script and come up with another question to be asked at every Toyota press conference.