Hyundai posts biggest quarterly profit gain since 2012

22 Jul 2019

Hyundai has posted its largest quarterly net profit gain in more than seven years, as new models hiked domestic sales and a weaker local currency helped to bolster U.S. income.

A strong performance in South Korea and the U.S. helped to counter a fall in sales in China. Hyundai was forced to postpone production at its oldest factory earlier this year due to China’s economic slowdown, the trade dispute with the U.S. and lack of competitive models, Reuters reports.

Hyundai’s Q2 net profit increased 31.2% to 919.3 billion won ($780.44 million) the largest gain since Q1 2012. This compares with an average of 1.03 trillion won by 18 analyst forecasts compiled by Refinitiv.

In addition, the firm’s operating profit increased 30.2% to 1.24 trillion won while revenue rose 9.1% to 26.97 trillion won, Hyundai said in a stock exchange filing. 

Following six years of falls, heir apparent Euisun Chung has been driving the profit recovery. It is widely thought that the executive vice chairman is seeking support from investors for an ownership restructuring plan as he gets ready to take the helm from his father and chairman.

An earlier proposal was rebuffed in 2018 from U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management Corp.

Hyundai’s earnings have been boosted by a 5.5% fall in the value of the won versus the U.S. dollar this year. This has led to South Korean exports being more price competitive overseas and boosting the value of repatriated profit.

On domestic soil, the firm’s latest models including the Palisade SUV and Sonata sedan helped to reach an 8.1% increase in sales.

Hyundai is planning to sell its new Palisade SUV in the U.S. as the firm catches up with a change in U.S. consumer preference to SUVs.

However, in contrast, next Monday the firm’s South Korean union is voting on whether to go ahead with strike action following a walkout of annual wage talks at the end of last week.

According to Samsung Securities analyst Esther Yim, a lengthy dispute could have a much greater effect on this year’s sales and earnings, unlike over the past three or four years of slow growth, as new model sales have been rapid.

Following its earnings announcement, Hyundai shares trimmed losses, trading flat in line with the wider market.

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