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Hitachi Earnings Faster Than Forecast

Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., the world’s largest maker of large excavators, last week said earnings are rising faster than forecast as construction and mining booms in China, Russia and India continue to drive demand for heavy equipment.

CEO Michijiro Kikawa said the company may top 100 billion yen (about U.S. $813 million) in current profit, and 1 trillion yen in sales as early as the fiscal year ending March 2009, instead of 2011 as the company previously forecast.

Hitachi expects its fifth straight record earnings year, led by demand for hydraulic excavators. Kikawa said the company will increase spending to 160 billion yen over four years to build and expand plants, including two plants in Ibaragi prefecture, north of Tokyo, one for building key components of machinery and the other for making large excavators and mining dump trucks.

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