TOKYO — Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp., said its annual operating profit fell for the first time in six years, missing its own target, as weak demand at home and Southeast Asia offset hefty currency gains and robust earnings in India, its biggest market.
The country's fourth-largest automaker said on Monday operating profit dropped 4.4 percent to 179.42 billion yen ($1.50 billion) in the year ended March, despite a 22.2 billion yen currency gain as the weaker yen boosted the value of overseas sales.
The result was below both the small car specialist's own guidance that operating profit would edge up 0.1 percent to 188 billion yen, and an average estimate of 189.55 billion yen in a Thomson Reuters survey of 23 analysts.
Still, for the current business year, Suzuki forecast a 5.9 percent rise in operating profit to 190 billion yen, with higher vehicle sales in India and Europe making up for sinking demand in Japan. Analysts on average expect operating profit of 214.94 billion yen. Suzuki is the parent company of Maruti Suzuki, India's largest car maker by sales.
Suzuki expects global sales to rise 3.9 percent to 2.98 million vehicles this business year, despite an expected 14.7 percent slump in Japan, its second-biggest market after India.
In India, Suzuki expects sales to rise 10 percent this business year. Subsidiary Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., said last month it expects to push further into rural areas to help expand its market share.
($1 = 119.9100 yen)