November 2 2007.
Suzuki has announced that its consolidated net profit for the fiscal first-half ended September 30 rose 17% from a year earlier to 46 billion yen thanks to brisk sales in India and Europe.

Sales in regions outside of the slowing Japanese and U.S. markets helped underpin earnings.

Interim revenue climbed 17% to 1.72 trillion yen as global sales of its mainstay cars rose 9% to 1.14 million units. Domestic sales of these vehicles slid 4% to 315,000 units, while overseas sales climbed 15% to 834,000 units.

In the overseas segment, the Western Asian region, which includes India and Pakistan, accounted for about half of overall sales at 406,000 units, a 15% rise.

"The automobile market is solid and we expect growth to continue" in that region, Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki said at a news conference Wednesday.

Sales in Europe were also brisk, surging 16% to 174,000 units. Meanwhile, North American sales were mostly flat.

Suzuki's sales of motorcycles and scooters increased 9% to 1.63 million units. Sales in Asia posted growth, but demand in the North American market weakened.

Suzuki's operating profit rose 16% to 78.7 billion yen. Higher sales contributed about 28 billion yen, while the yen's depreciation added 12.7 billion yen. These factors helped offset rising materials costs totaling 8.5 billion yen.

Chairman Suzuki emphasized that the company will continue to make proactive investments toward increasing output capacity and developing its sales network.

In response to its better-than-expected interim results, the firm announced an upgrade to its full-term forecast from the beginning of the year. Net profit is expected to rise 9% to 82 billion yen. Operating profit is expected to climb 9% to 145 billion yen, 11 billion yen more than the previous projection.

Suzuki also expects to boost its annual dividend by 2 yen to 16 yen a share, which would mark a fourth straight increase.

Source: The Nikkei