Hyundai posts 38 per cent rise in profit

Hyundai Motor, South Korea's top automaker, posted a higher-than-expected 38 per cent rise in third-quarter net profit as it gained global market share helped by strong sales of new models.

While uncertain economic prospects are clouding the outlook for global car sales, analysts believe that Hyundai will outperform its rivals with robust results in the current quarter thanks to new model launches and its strength in compact cars.

Hyundai will introduce a revamped version of its best selling Elantra compact in the United States and new Accent and Grandeur in Korea this quarter, which may help it steal market share further from its Japanese rivals such as Toyota, which is still reeling from a series of recalls and a surging yen.

Hyundai, the world's No.5 car maker with affiliate Kia Motors and the maker of the Sonata sedan, on Thursday reported a 1.35 trillion won ($1.20 billion) net profit for the quarter ended September, compared with a consensus forecast of 1.07 billion won from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

This is up 38 per cent from a year earlier, and down 2.6 per cent from the previous quarter.

Quarterly operating profit rose 28 per cent to 751.8 billion won from a year earlier, while sales climbed 9 per cent to 8.85 trillion won.

Hyundai said its global market share climbed to 5.5 per cent in the third quarter from 5.1 per cent the previous quarter.

Hyunda's high exposure to emerging markets means the company is less exposed to the tepid recovery in advanced markets such as the US and Europe.

But its earnings growth may slow down next year, as a rising Korean won could hit overseas sales and its limited production expansion plans could put a brake on its efforts to raise output.

Hyundai Motor shares were flat after the earnings.

The stock has risen 42 per cent so far this year, far outperforming a 14 per cent gain in the Korean stock market.