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KAWASAKI: GOOD TIMES ROLL ON

The stand-alone motorcycle division of Kawasaki Heavy Industries is unusual, in as much as it prospered steadily throughout the pandemic, having already put structural reforms in place to restore profitability in its 2019/2020 fiscal year — immediately prior to Covid’s worldwide infection. That success has now been reinforced by latest 2021/2022 full-year figures. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

For the 12 months to the end of March this year, Kawasaki’s revenue from bikes climbed by a muscular 33% to £2.801bn. Related operating profit went stratospheric, 218.8% up to £233.2m. Operating margin improved to 8.3% from 3.4%. These advances were attributed to growing the brand’s motorcycle markets in North America, Europe and South-East Asia. They contrast vividly with falling sales and an annual operating loss in the aforementioned 2019/2020 fiscal.

Turnover from motorcycles for developed countries increased by 48.8% to £1.061bn. Emerging markets were 61.4% up to £629.5m. The contribution from utility vehicles, ATVs and personal watercraft rose by 7.3% and general-purpose petrol engines, mostly destined for the American market, added 27.5%.

Wholesale shipments to developed markets rocketed by 42.5% to 208,000 motorcycles. The USA grew by 59.3% to 86,000. Europe was 22.4% up to 71,000. Japan recovered by a remarkable 93.8% to 31,000. Australia added 9.1% to 12,000 and Canada was 20% higher at 6000.

Bikes for emerging countries improved by 25.2% to 283,000. Among a trio of major recipients, the Philippines stood out, 12.6% up to 161,000. Indonesia recovered by 50% to 45,000 and China stacked on 48% to 37,000.

For the new fiscal year, Kawasaki anticipates US off-road motorcycle, utility and ATV demand to remain strong. And it says European markets, which have now recovered from Covid, will also be robust. But the outlook for SE Asia is uncertain. 

An interesting footnote in the results statement mentioned “consideration of joint research with Yamaha Motor on hydrogen engines”. Inevitably, a list of supply-chain risks appeared too, addressed by changing production and sales plans promptly, according to parts availability.

Yen-sterling currency translation at forex rates applicable on 18 May.      

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