Nissan Motor Co. posted a 33-percent rise in profits for the latest fiscal year and said Wednesday it had wiped out debt that had crippled its business for a decade.
Profits at Japan's No. 3 automaker totaled 495 billion yen ($4 billion) for the year ended March 31, up from 372 billion yen a year ago, the Tokyo-based company said.
Sales were up 10.6 percent to 6.85 trillion yen ($57 billion) from 6.2 trillion yen on strength in Japan and North America, according to the preliminary earnings report.
Auto-sector related debt, which had totaled 2 trillion yen ($16.6 billion at current rates) in 1999, before Nissan entered a partnership with France's Renault SA, had been eliminated, said Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn. Debts stood at nearly 3 trillion yen a decade ago.
Ghosn, sent by Renault to lead Nissan's revival, had made wiping out debt a major goal. Nissan now expects to report net cash of 8 billion yen ($67 million), he said.
"Nissan's revival is a reality. Three years ago, our business was in accelerated decline," he told reporters at a Tokyo hotel. "Today we're not only back in the global race. We're among the pacesetters."
The lingering question for Nissan, which is 44.4 percent owned by Renault, is how much longer it can keep its momentum, analysts said.