President and Chief Executive Officer
Fiscal 2015 was a year of continued progress at Nissan Motor Corporation (NMC) . Once again we delivered solid financial results for our shareholders by launching innovative vehicles, pioneering new technologies and disciplined focus on cost-efficiency.
I would like to thank all of our employees, our suppliers, dealers, Alliance partners and my management colleagues for their contribution to our strong financial performance this year. Our results reflect Nissan's underlying quality and resilience, and I look ahead with bright optimism–for our customers, for our employees, and of course, for our shareholders.
As a global team, we have worked together to design, develop, assemble, market, sell and service a range of vehicles with strong customer appeal. This helped to drive strong demand in North America and a satisfactory performance in Europe, excluding the significant market contraction in Russia. Together with continued cost efficiencies and Alliance synergies, this helped offset the negative impact of adverse currency movements and volatile conditions in some of the other markets. This, in turn, has produced robust shareholder returns. Over the past five years, our annual dividend payment has more than doubled: rising from 20 yen per share in fiscal 2011 to a proposed payout of 48 yen per share for fiscal 2016. This represents a 14.3% increase on the fiscal 2015 dividend payment. In February 2016, we further underlined our commitment to total shareholder returns by announcing a share buy-back worth up to 400 billion yen. As set out in the detailed financial statements in this Annual Report, the Company increased revenues by 7.2% to 12.2 trillion yen in the 12 months to March 31, 2016, and generated sharply increased operating profits of 793.3 billion yen. Net income rose by 14.5% to 523.8 billion.
Our confidence reflects the progress that Nissan has achieved since launching the Power 88 plan five years ago. Since then, our annual unit sales have increased by more than 1.2 million units to 5.4 million.
In spite of several challenges in recent years – from emerging market and currency volatility to geo-political tensions – our continued focus on cost efficiencies and our ongoing product offensive have helped lift operating margins towards the 7% level reported for the latest fiscal year. This signals that we are on the right path toward the goal of a sustainable 8% operating profit margin.
We are far from complacent. We must continue to launch strong new products and relentlessly improve efficiency and quality. This is particularly important in Japan where we are refreshing some core models, notably with the launch of a new compact car featuring our latest electric vehicle powertrain.
This new electric vehicle will meet consumer demand for greater autonomy and fuel efficiency, utilizing a new "e-Power" system that matches the agility, quietness, strong acceleration and efficiency of the Nissan LEAF.
During the current fiscal year, we will launch our latest generation autonomous drive technology in Japan, known as Pro Pilot. This system will build on our existing forward emergency braking technologies by offering automated single-lane controls in highway, making driving safer and more efficient.
We also anticipate that our presence in Japan – and beyond – will be strengthened by our proposed strategic alliance with Mitsubishi Motors (MMC) , in which Nissan is planning to take a 34% stake for 237 billion yen. Pending regulatory approvals for this transaction, we will be able to work together in areas including purchasing, common platforms, the shared development of new technologies, joint plant utilization and growth markets. Our interest in MMC reflects our long-term confidence in alliances to deliver synergies in areas such as engine development and shared vehicle architectures.
The bedrock of our Alliance strategy is our 17-year partnership with Renault.
Renault-Nissan synergies exceeded 4 billion euros in fiscal 2015 and will continue to increase as we implement convergence in purchasing, manufacturing and logistics, engineering and human resources. We are targeting 5.5 billion euros by fiscal 2018.
These synergies will be achieved through efficiencies on the cost side and shared revenue opportunities from assets such as the Common Module Family with Renault and our partnership with Daimler in shared powertrains and vehicle architecture.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance will also be an important platform for our expansion in autonomous drive technologies and connected vehicles.
Nissan is driving change throughout the auto industry. We are changing the driving experience with our "Intelligent Mobility" vision, which will streamline our efforts to deliver Electric Vehicles, Autonomous Drive, Connected Vehicles, and many other cutting-edge products. In electric vehicles, we created the zero-emission segment five years ago with the launch of the all-electric Nissan LEAF, of which we have now sold more than 200,000 units worldwide.
The 2016 LEAF model has been enhanced by a new 30-kilowatt battery that extended its driving range by more than 20%. This extended range and the growing availability of fast-charging locations in leading markets will enable more zero-emission journeys.
By the end of the decade, Nissan plans to offer more connected cars, introducing systems and features that will make driving safer, more productive and enjoyable. By 2020, the Renault-Nissan Alliance plans to launch more than 10 models with autonomous drive technologies.
As the automotive world evolves, Nissan is making positive changes everywhere: for every consumer, for every market, and in every part of our business. We are driving a transformation in the way vehicles are designed, developed, produced and sold in markets around the world. We are harnessing the power that's inside Nissan to prepare solutions that our customers will want and value, now and in the years to come.
The future is bright for our company. Our efforts in cost-efficiency, new products and technologies, Alliances, market focus and greater focus on revenue optimization and customer satisfaction will, we believe, underpin a solid performance in the current year and beyond.
Thank you again for your support.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
NISSAN: Enriching people's lives
Nissan provides unique and innovative automotive products and services that deliver superior measurable values to all stakeholders in alliance with Renault.