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Hyundai's profits quadruple

Published:Sunday | January 31, 2010 | 12:00 AM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP):Hyundai Motor's net profit nearly quadrupled in the fourth quarter on higher sales following a strong performance during 2009 in the fast-growing Chinese and Indian auto markets.

South Korea's largest automaker and a growing force in the global market earned 945.5 billion won (US$820 million) in the three months ended December 31, it said in a statement last Thursday. Hyundai Motor Co reported net profit of 243.5 billion won during the same period the year before.

The Ulsan, South Korea-based maker of the Elantra and Sonata sedans and the luxury Genesis, said sales during the quarter rose 9.3 per cent to 9.65 trillion won from 8.83 trillion won a year earlier.

For all of 2009, Hyundai recorded a net profit of 2.96 trillion won, more than doubling from 1.45 trillion won in 2008.

Sales for the year, however, fell one per cent to 31.9 trillion won from 32.2 trillion. The numbers of vehicles sold rose 11.7 per cent to a record 3.11 million from 2.78 million the year before.

Hyundai reported big gains in sales volume in China and India in 2009. It also said that profits in China surged while in India it made money after a loss the year before.

Auto sales in China soared 93.6 per cent in 2009 with revenue more than doubling, Hyundai said. In India auto sales rose 14.4 per cent and revenue gained 28.7 per cent.

Also boosting the bottom line was a sharp drop in foreign exchange-related losses to 97 billion won in 2009 compared with 380 billion won the year before.

The company attributed the drop in sales revenue to reduced exports from its domestic factories.

Hyundai, which along with affiliate Kia Motors Corp forms the world's fifth-largest automotive group, has seen its market share grow worldwide in recent years through an emphasis on quality and design.