February 6, 2017 / 6:39 AM / 6 months ago

Suzuki third quarter operating profit exceeds forecasts on better margins

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Suzuki Motor new model of Wagon R is pictured at its launch event in Tokyo, Japan, February 1, 2017.Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO (Reuters) - Suzuki Motor Corp (7269.T) on Monday reported a higher-than-expected rise in third-quarter operating profit on the back of better margins, while sales remained strong in its biggest market of India.

Japan's fourth-largest automaker said operating profit rose to 51.9 billion yen ($461.13 million) in October-December, up from 45.1 billion yen a year prior and exceeding a median forecast of 43.66 billion yen drawn from 10 analysts in a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S/ poll.

It kept its full-year profit forecast of 145.0 billion yen unchanged, slightly lower than a median forecast of 147.78 billion yen drawn from 10 analysts in a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S/ poll.

Suzuki, which specializes in ultra-compact cars, has benefited from strong demand for its higher-margin vehicles in India, which accounts for around half of its total global sales. This has offset slower sales at home and in other Asian regions.

Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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