Hyundai Motor's 4th-quarter net profit hits record

Hyundai Motor Co.'s vehicle Avante is displayed at the South Korean top car maker's showroom in Seoul, South Korea. Hyundai Motor says net profit rose 48 percent in the fourth quarter to a record high as sales increased. (AP)

Hyundai Motor's net profit jumped 48 percent in the fourth quarter to a record high as revenue and vehicle sales rose.

Hyundai said Thursday that it earned 1.4 trillion won ($1.3 billion) in the three months ended Dec. 31. It earned 946 billion won in the same period last year.

The automaker said sales during the quarter rose 3.1 percent to 9.94 trillion won from 9.65 trillion won a year earlier.

Hyundai Motor is South Korea's largest automaker and has become a major force in the global auto industry.

The company, which with affiliate Kia Motors Corp. forms the world's fifth-largest automotive group, has expanded aggressively overseas and has factories in China, India, Turkey, the United States, the Czech Republic and Russia.

Operating profit - seen as a direct indicator of business performance before taxes, dividends, asset sales and other items are figured into net profit or loss - gained 8.6 percent to 908.8 billion won.

Company spokeswoman Song Meeyoung said that net profit, operating profit and sales figures were all-time quarterly highs.

Sales increased 5.1 percent to 943,791 vehicles in the fourth quarter and rose 16.3 percent to a record 3.61 million for all of 2010, the company said.

Annual net profit in 2010 also hit an all-time high, surging 78 percent to 5.27 trillion won.

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