Honda said Tuesday that its fiscal-year net profit fell 8.9 percent to $4.4 billion as Japan's number three automaker grapples with soaring recall costs, including from an exploding airbag crisis linked to at least five deaths. The Civic maker downgraded its profit forecasts twice before the results were published Tuesday, as it warned the airbag scandal at supplier Takata would take a toll on its bottom line, as well as falling demand in Japan and the world's biggest vehicle market, China. For the current fiscal year, Honda forecast a net profit of 525 billion yen on sales of 14.5 trillion yen, under a new system of accounting standards the carmaker has adopted. In February, Honda said its president, company veteran Takanobu Ito, would step down as the company works through the recall crisis, which it cited as a key reason for its declining profit.
Tokyo Electron shares plunged almost 15 percent Tuesday after US competition regulators blocked a multi-billion-dollar merger between the Japanese semiconductor equipment maker and American rival Applied Materials. Tokyo Electron Tokyo-listed shares faced huge selling pressure from the opening bell, losing 14.81 percent to close at 6,557.0 yen ($55) after the announcement on Monday. The California-based firm said it had called off its nearly $10 billion bid for Tokyo Electron, first announced in 2013, after proposed tweaks to the deal had failed to convince antitrust officials at the Department of Justice. People expected the merger to create a market leader," Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management, told Bloomberg News.