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Mazda likely to post huge jump in first-quarter operating profit: Nikkei

TOKYO (Reuters) - Mazda Motor Corp <7261.T> is likely to see its April-June operating profit rise 20 times from a year ago to around 35 billion yen ($357 million), helped by a weakening in the yen and strong sales of new models, the Nikkei business daily reported on Monday.

Mazda, which in the first six months of 2013 produced more than three-quarters of its vehicles in Japan and exported more than 80 percent of them, is the most reliant of Japan automakers on exports.

A weaker yen increases the value of earnings garnered abroad when they are repatriated and makes exports more profitable.

Japan's fifth-biggest automaker is scheduled to announce first quarter results on Wednesday.

Mazda spokeswoman Misato Kobayashi declined to comment on the report, saying only that the company had not made an announcement.

The company also saw strong sales of its CX-5 SUV and the Mazda6. These models have common parts and have helped the company's profitability improve, the Nikkei said without citing a source. ($1 = 98.1300 Japanese yen)

(Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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