Suzuki ups guidance on India sales

09:33, November 03, 2009      

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Suzuki Motor Corp quadrupled its annual operating profit forecast yesterday as sales soared in its main Indian market, setting it apart from other Japanese automakers that have depended heavily on the sinking US market.

Suzuki, like South Korean rival Hyundai Motor Co, has been a major beneficiary of a global shift in consumer preference towards smaller cars, partly fanned by government incentives on purchases of less polluting vehicles.

Both carmakers' huge presence in India, where the economy's resilience and tax incentives have jumpstarted demand for cars, has helped them weather the storm better than most in the industry.

Suzuki, Japan's fourth-biggest automaker, raised its operating profit outlook to 40 billion yen ($445 million) for the year to March, from an initial forecast of 10 billion yen.

It now expects a net profit of 15 billion yen instead of 5 billion yen.

Consensus forecasts from 16 brokerages put Suzuki's operating profit for the year at 46.6 billion yen, and net profit at 22.8 billion yen.

Earlier, Daihatsu Motor Co, the minivehicle unit of Toyota Motor Corp, and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, the maker of Subaru cars, also lifted their full-year forecasts after better-than-anticipated six-month results.

For July-September, Suzuki, known for its Swift and Alto hatchback cars, reported a 7.1 percent fall in operating profit to 24.98 billion yen from the second quarter last year, as global sales volumes decreased and the yen strengthened against the dollar.

The result was double an estimate of 12.45 billion yen in a poll of three analysts by Thomson Reuters.

Net profit grew 27 percent to 10.38 billion yen, while revenue dropped 25 percent to 604.4 billion yen.

Last week, Suzuki's Indian unit, Maruti Suzuki India, reported a near doubling in its quarterly net profit, also powered by brisk exports to Europe.

Daihatsu, which dominates Japan's 660cc minivehicle segment with Suzuki, now expects an annual operating profit of 26 billion yen instead of 17 billion yen as sale exceed expectations in Indonesia and Malaysia, where it has a big presence.

In July-September, Daihatsu's operating profit fell 35 percent to 6.13 billion yen. Net profit sank 41 percent to 3.25 billion yen.

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, also owned partly by Toyota, now expects to eke out an annual operating profit of 1 billion yen instead of a 35 billion yen loss previously forecast.

Its second-quarter operating profit was 8.24 billion yen, down 31 percent from a year earlier.

Shares of Suzuki lost 3.5 percent during the second quarter, underperforming Tokyo's transport sector subindex .ITEQP.T, which was flat.

Before the results were announced, Suzuki ended down 2.9 percent at 2,170 yen amid broad-based selling in Tokyo as the dollar weakened against the yen.

Daihatsu, whose shares gained 2.1 percent during the quarter, closed down 2.5 percent at 920 yen after its announcement. Fuji Heavy lost 5.2 percent to end at 345 yen despite the higher forecasts.

Source:China Daily
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