Nintendo's profit more than doubled for the latest fiscal year, lifted by strong sales of its newly launched portable game player Nintendo...

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TOKYO — Nintendo’s profit more than doubled for the latest fiscal year, lifted by strong sales of its newly launched portable game player Nintendo DS, but the Japanese video-game maker yesterday forecast lower-than-expected growth in the current year amid intense competition.

The Kyoto company, which makes the Super Mario game software and GameBoy Advance portable machines, said its group net profit surged to 87.42 billion yen ($809.44 million) in the year ended March 31 from 33.19 billion yen a year earlier. Sales edged up to 515.29 billion yen ($4.77 billion) from 514.81 billion yen.

For the current fiscal year through March 2006, Nintendo forecasts group net profit will drop to 75 billion yen ($694.44 million) on sales of 520 billion yen ($4.81 billion).

“The problem with Nintendo is that they have so much cash on the balance sheet that the management has become complacent,” said Scott McGlashan, a London-based fund manager at J O Hambro Capital Management. “Sony and Microsoft will dominate the games industry.”

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Nintendo, Japan’s top portable game-machine maker, said its mainline operations were supported by the debut of the Nintendo DS. Sales of the “double screen” game player have climbed to 5.2 million units, the company said, and it expects to sell 12.4 million DS portable devices in the current year.

The instant success of the handheld Nintendo DS helped offset the slumping sales of Nintendo GameCube game consoles due to intense competition from the PlayStation 2 made by Sony and from Microsoft’s Xbox.

Information from Reuters and Bloomberg News is included in this report.