SEOUL, Jan. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — Kia Corp., South Korea’s second-biggest carmaker, said Wednesday its fourth-quarter net profit nearly tripled from a year earlier on an improved product mix despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Net profit for the three months ended December jumped to 976.75 billion won (US$884 million) from 346.36 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a statement.
“A combination of increased sales of high-end and recreational vehicles and companywide cost cuts gave a boost to the quarterly bottom line,” it said.
On Wednesday, Kia shares ended 0.3 percent higher at 90,000 won after the release of the quarterly results. The benchmark KOSPI fell 0.6 percent.
Looking ahead, Kia expected vehicle demand to gradually recover but a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and unfriendly exchange rates remain a major worry for the year.
Kia said it will focus on boosting sales of valued-added models, such as the Telluride and Sorento SUV in the U.S. market, while aiming to expand exports to emerging markets.
In 2021, the maker of the K5 sedan and the Soul boxcar aims to sell 2.92 million vehicles, 12 percent higher than its actual sales of 2.6 million units last year.
Operating profit more than doubled to 1.28 trillion won in the fourth quarter from 590.52 billion won a year ago. Sales rose 5 percent to 16.91 trillion won from 16.11 trillion won during the same period.
An improved product mix and increased average selling prices helped offset production losses involving the union’s partial strikes for higher wages and lower vehicle demand amid the extended COVID-19 pandemic, it said.
For the whole of 2020, net profit fell 18 percent to 1.5 trillion won from 1.83 trillion won the previous year as the pandemic weighed on production and sales throughout the year in global markets.
Full-year operating profit rose 2.8 percent to 2.07 trillion won in 2020 from 2 trillion won a year ago. Sales climbed 1.8 percent to 59.17 trillion won from 58.15 trillion won during the same period.
A day earlier, its bigger affiliate Hyundai Motor Co. reported a 78 percent on-year jump in fourth-quarter net profit at 1.38 trillion won on premium-margin SUVs and its independent brand Genesis models.
But Hyundai’s full-year net income fell 34 percent to 2.12 trillion won last year from 3.19 trillion won the previous year due to the virus impact.