* Komatsu cuts annual operating profit forecast by 12 pct
* Forecast is Y230 bln vs analysts’ prediction of Y248 bln
* Second time that forecast cut this year
* Q3 operating profit falls by a third to 39.2 bln yen
By Dominic Lau
TOKYO, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Japan’s Komatsu Ltd, the world’s second-biggest maker of construction machinery, cut its annual profit for a second time as demand for mining equipment in Indonesia tumbled on the back of steep declines in thermal coal prices.
Indonesia is the world’s top exporter of thermal coal, largely used to fuel power stations in China and India, but its coal miners have struggled in the face of tumbling prices as demand in China slowed.
Komatsu on Tuesday cut its operating profit forecast by 12 percent to 230 billion yen ($2.5 billion) for the year to end-March, below an average estimate of 249 billion yen from 25 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
It initially expected a profit of 315 billion yen for the year to March.
Komatsu also named Tetsuji Ohashi, a director in charge of business planning and strategy as its new president and CEO effective in April, replacing Kunio Noji. The change coincides with the company’s intention to adopt a new three-year business plan in April. Noji will become the company’s chairman.
On Monday, bigger rival Caterpillar Inc reported a 55 percent drop in quarterly profit and set a cautious tone for the year, citing weak demand and oversupply.
China’s benchmark thermal coal prices fell for the sixth straight week to their lowest in more than four months on Friday, as high inventories and a deluge of imports combined to offset winter demand.
For the third quarter ended Dec. 31, Komatsu posted a 33.4 percent fall in operating profit to 39.23 billion yen. It came in below an average estimate of 58.73 billion yen operating profit by three analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Prior to the results announcement, Komatsu shares ended up 1.3 percent versus a 0.4 percent rise on the benchmark Nikkei .
Shares of Komatsu gained 21 percent in 2012, just lagging a 23 percent rise in the Nikkei but outperforming a 1.1 percent fall in Caterpillar. It has a market capitalisation of about $25.5 billion versus Caterpillar’s $62.5 billion.
$1 = 90.6350 Japanese yen Reporting by Dominic Lau; Editing by Edwina Gibbs