Asia gives profit boost to Suzuki but competition in India freezes forecasts

City A.M. Reporter
SUZUKI Motors, Japan’s No4 automaker, posted a 31 per cent rise in quarterly profit yesterday on brisk sales in Asia, and stuck to its conservative forecasts as competition intensifies in the key Indian market.

Suzuki has enjoyed robust earnings growth compared with most domestic rivals thanks to its limited exposure to the stronger yen and heavy weighting in India, where majority-held unit Maruti Suzuki India sells every other car.

But falling margins in India due to rising raw materials prices and slowing growth in the country’s car market have weighed on Suzuki’s shares, which have been the worst performer among Japanese auto stocks in the past three months.

“The trend of rising sales and profits remains, but the pace of growth has slowed compared with the first and second quarters,” senior operating officer Takao Hirosawa said, citing margin pressure from higher raw materials prices in India.

In the October-December third quarter, operating profit at the maker of the SX-4, Swift and other compact cars came to 23.64bn yen (£178.6m), up 31 per cent from a year earlier and roughly in line with estimates.

That brought its nine-month profit to 92.46bn yen, just shy of its full-year forecast of 100bn yen. A survey of 21 analysts put the profit at a much better 115.8bn yen for the year to March 31, up 46 per cent from last year.