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(LEAD) Hyundai Motor Q4 net drops 7.7 pct on currency losses, global competition

All News 14:34 January 26, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more info from 4th para)

SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's top automaker, said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter net profits fell 7.7 percent from a year earlier due in part to the won's ascent against other currencies and heated competition in global markets.

In a regulatory filing, the automaker reported a net profit of 1.53 trillion won (US$1.3 billion) for the October-December period, down from 1.66 trillion won a year earlier.

Operating income plunged 19.2 percent on-year to 1.51 trillion won over the same period, while sales grew 5.1 percent to 24.76 trillion won.

The fourth-quarter earnings are almost in line with the market consensus. Brokerages forecast a net profit of 1.59 trillion won, according to data compiled by Yonhap Infomax, the financial arm of Yonhap News.

For 2015, Hyundai Motor reported a net profit of 6.51 trillion won, down 14.9 percent from a year earlier. Its yearly operating profit also shrank 15.8 percent to 6.36 trillion won, the worst in about five years.

"The profitability slightly worsened in 2015 on intensifying competition in major global markets coupled with the sharp depreciation of emerging countries' currencies," the company said in a press release.

The company said that its operating profit ratio stood at 6.9 percent last year, down 1.5 percentage points from a year earlier. In the fourth quarter, the ratio came down to 6.1 percent from 8 percent in the same time of 2014.

Last year, Hyundai Motor sold around 4.96 million cars globally, almost the same level of sales tallied a year earlier. Its overseas shipments of locally-produced vehicles shrank 3.4 percent on-year, the company said.

Hyundai Motor painted a still gloomy picture of global market conditions this year, citing the slowing growth in China, historically low crude oil prices and financial instability in emerging markets as possible downside risks.

Against these tough and uncertain business situations lying ahead, Hyundai Motor said that it will focus on enhancing its future competitiveness and consolidate the sustainable growth base. To that end, the automaker vowed to expand research and development and secure its lead in the environment-friendly vehicles sector.

"By expanding the market for luxury and sport utility vehicle models, we intend to improve our product mix," the company said. "Also, with the won-dollar exchange rates improving favorably, we will make an all-out effort to raise the profitability."

Hyundai Motor aims to sell 5.01 million cars at home and abroad this year which includes 693,000 units in the domestic market.

Shares of Hyundai Motor traded at 136,000 won on the Seoul bourse as of 2:13 p.m., down 1.09 percent from a year earlier.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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