Mizuho profits fall by a quarter

City A.M. Reporter
Mizuho Financial Group maintained its full-year net profit forecast after reporting that first-half profit fell 25.4 per cent, weighed down by the absence of hefty bond trading gains that lifted its profits the previous year.

Japan's top three banks are announcing their first-half results on Monday, and Mizuho, the second-largest by assets, had been expected to lag rivals.

Results of the other two, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, are expected to show they are on track to beat their full-year forecasts.

Unlike their Western rivals, Japanese banks largely escaped the brunt of Europe's debt crisis due to limited exposure to the region, while bad-loan costs remained low at home as the number of bankruptcies in Japan continued to decline.

Mizuho said net profit was 254.67bn yen ($3.3bn) for April-September, down from 341.76 billion yen in the same period last year. Second-quarter profit fell to 158.3bn yen from 191.91bn yen in the year-ago period, according to Reuters calculations from first-half and first-quarter figures.

For the full year to next March, the bank kept its net profit forecast at 460 billion yen, above an estimate of a 433.9bn yen by Thomson Reuters Starmine's SmartEstimate.

The bank also said on Monday that it plans to cut 3,000 jobs, or about five per cent of its work force, by March 2016 through the merger of its corporate and retail banking units.