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Hyundai, Kia to extend earnings rally on strengthening dollar, solid sales

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Hyundai Motor and Kia headquarters in Seoul / Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

By Lee Min-hyung

Hyundai Motor and Kia are forecast to achieve solid earnings growth in the third quarter on the strengthening dollar and solid sales in premium and sports utility vehicles (SUV) categories.

According to data from market tracker FnGuide, Hyundai Motor is expected to have chalked up an operating profit of 3.47 trillion won ($2.55 billion) between July and September, up 124.17 percent from the previous year. The forecast is a slight decline from a quarter earlier, but the performance is considered robust as the third quarter is traditionally seen as an off-season for automakers.

The largest automaker here is also forecast to have generated sales of more than 42 trillion won during the same period, up 4.77 percent from a year ago, according to data from the market tracker.

Hyundai's weak stock momentum will also rebound buoyed by the solid earnings, market analysts said.

"Hyundai Motor's operating profit in the third quarter will remain sturdy on the higher-than-expected won-dollar exchange rate and the rise of unit price of automobiles," Yi Hyun-soo, an analyst at Yuanta Securities, said. "The firm's stock price has entered a weak cycle since early July, but its valuation will regain momentum for recovery in line with the solid earnings result."

Kia, the nation's second-largest automaker and an affiliate of Hyundai, is also expected to attain triple-digit growth in operating profit during the same period. According to FnGuide, the automaker is forecast to have generated an operating profit of 3.4 trillion won in the third quarter, up 263.11 percent from the previous year.

The two automakers' rising overseas sales volume makes a rosier outlook for their annual earnings growth, at a time when the won-dollar exchange rate is hovering at a high level of more than 1,300 won per dollar.

According to Hyundai Motor Group, almost a quarter of vehicle sales from the two automakers were made in the U.S. in the first half of this year. The figure reached 23.5 percent, the highest for Hyundai and Kia. Korea came in second with 18.9 percent, followed by 17.5 percent in Europe. The automakers can report better sales results when selling more vehicles in the U.S. because of this period of a strengthening dollar.

Increasing sales of Genesis, a luxury brand of Hyundai, is also propelling the overall group-wide earnings growth. A total of 31,234 Genesis-branded vehicles was sold in the U.S. in the first half, up 21.7 percent. This was the highest sales on a semi-annual basis there.

Growing demand for SUVs also helped rev up their overseas sales. Tucson and Sportage, two representative SUVs from Hyundai and Kia, placed their names on a list of their top-selling vehicles in the U.S. during the same period. Hyundai Motor and Kia are forecast to achieve solid earnings growth in the third quarter on strengthening dollar and decent sales for premium and sports utility vehicles.

Lee Min-hyung


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