* Q4 net 17.09 bln rupees vs 17.56 bln rupees estimate
* Maruti has been launching more premium models (Updates with background, details)
NEW DELHI, April 27 (Reuters) - Maruti Suzuki India Ltd , the country’s top-selling car maker, posted a 16 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit on higher sales of premium models such as the Brezza SUV and Baleno hatchback, but the profit was slightly below expectations.
Net profit for the three months ended March 31 rose to 17.09 billion rupees ($266.64 million) from 14.76 billion rupees in the year-ago quarter, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
Analysts had expected the company to post a profit of 17.56 billion rupees, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The company said it had restated profit figures for the year ago quarter to adjust for new accounting standards.
Maruti, which sells one of every two cars in India, dominates the small car market and has been expanding its net by launching more premium vehicles to compete better with newer and planned entrants such as Kia Motors and SAIC Motor Corp who are finalising their India entry plans.
Total income from operations of Maruti, which is majority owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp, rose 20.4 percent to 207.51 billion rupees. The company sold a total of 414,439 passenger vehicles during the quarter, up about 15 percent from the year ago period.
Suzuki, which owns 56.2 percent of Maruti, gets the bulk of its revenues from Maruti which is valued by the market at about $30 billion, higher than the Japanese company’s market capitalisation of about $20.5 billion. ($1 = 64.0950 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Aditi Shah; Writing by Swati Bhat; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)