February 1 2008.

Suzuki Motor Corp. has announced a consolidated net profit for the April-December period up 18% on the year to 67.6 billion yen, a record for a nine-month period.

Solid subcompact sales in Asia and Europe helped offset a decline in motorcycle sales in North America. The yen's depreciation against currencies other than the dollar also helped boost Suzuki's profit.

Sales grew 15% to 2.57 trillion yen. Suzuki's global auto sales rose 10% to 1.74 million units. Domestic auto sales fell 3%, but overseas sales climbed 15% to 1.27 million units. Sales in India jumped 17% to 525,000 units and sales in Europe increased 17% to 257,000 units.

Suzuki's global motorcycle sales climbed 8% to 2.47 million units. But the number sold in North America, which is showing signs of an economic slowdown, dropped 14%.

Group operating profit increased 18% to 117 billion yen. Rising basic materials costs pushed down profit by about 14 billion yen, but Suzuki was able to absorb this with higher sales. Foreign exchange factors, namely the yen's weakness against such currencies as the euro and Indian rupee, helped boost profit by 35.6 billion yen.

Group sales for the full term ending March 31 are expected to climb 5% to 3.33 trillion yen. Net profit is likely to increase 9% to 82 billion yen. Operating profit is projected to grow 9% to 145 billion yen.

Suzuki is sticking to its previous forecast calling for an 8% increase in global auto sales to 2.4 million units for the current fiscal year.

Source: The Nikkei