Seoul: Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea’s top automaker, on Thursday posted a surprise 28% fall in quarterly profit, hit by lower investment gains from affiliates, while a global industry slump outweighed the boost to overseas sales from a weaker won.
Hyundai, the world’s No.5 car maker along with its affiliate Kia Motors Corp, reported a net profit of won243.6 billion ($177.7 million) in the fourth quarter of 2008, missing a won513.5 billion forecast by 11 analysts in a Reuters poll.
That compared with a won338 billion profit a year ago and a won265 billion profit in the third quarter of 2008.
Quarterly operating profit was won581.0 billion compared with a won638.6 billion profit forecast and won637.8 billion a year earlier.
The outlook for the maker of the Sonata sedan is grim amid the global recession and financial crisis which have hit worldwide car sales and squeezed credit.
Hyundai, however, is expected to weather the storm better than many of its global peers thanks to a softer won currency and a focus on smaller models, analysts said.
Reflecting those hopes, Hyundai shares have risen about 10% so far this year, outperforming a 1% decline in the Seoul’s benchmark KOSPI index.