Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea's top automaker, on Thursday posted a surprise 28 per cent fall in quarterly profit, hit by lower investment gains from affiliates, while a global industry slump outweighed the boost to overseas sales from a weaker won.
Hyundai, the world's No 5 car maker along with its affiliate Kia Motors Corp, reported a net profit of 243.6 billion won ($177.7 million) in the fourth quarter of 2008, missing a 513.5 billion won forecast by 11 analysts in a Reuters poll.
That compared with a 338 billion won profit a year ago and a 265 billion won profit in the third quarter of 2008.
Quarterly operating profit was 581.0 billion won compared with a 638.6 billion won profit forecast and 637.8 billion won a year earlier.
The outlook for the maker of the Sonata sedan is grim amid the global recession and financial crisis which have hit worldwide car sales and squeezed credit.
Hyundai, however, is expected to weather the storm better than many of its global peers thanks to a softer won currency and a focus on smaller models, analysts said.
Reflecting those hopes, Hyundai shares have risen about 10 per cent so far this year, outperforming a 1 per cent decline in the Seoul's benchmark KOSPI index.