Dongfeng Motor Group Co. (489), China’s biggest maker of Japanese-branded cars, reported full-year profit that beat analyst estimates even as sales declined.
Net income fell 13 percent to 9.1 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), the Wuhan, China-based company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange today. That surpassed the 8.4 billion yuan average of 31 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales fell 5.6 percent to 124 billion yuan.
Dongfeng is recovering from Chinese consumer aversion toward its Japanese partners’ products after a wave of protests erupted in September due to the territorial dispute between China and Japan over a group of islands in the East China Sea. Both Nissan and Honda said traffic and demand were on the uprise at the end of last year.
China’s auto industry was “under a slow growth in 2012,” Xu Ping, Dongfeng’s chairman, said in the earnings statement. “The growth in of general consumption market provided momentum and tremendous room for improvement.”
Dongfeng rose 2.9 percent to HK$10.56 at the close of trading in Hong Kong before the results were announced. The shares are down 12 percent so far this year.
Passenger-vehicle sales increased 5.7 percent to 1.7 million units, while commercial vehicle sales dropped 21.2 percent to 414,754 units, according to the statement.
Besides Japanese brands Nissan and Honda, Dongfeng is partnered with France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen to produce cars in China.
Dongfeng signed an agreement in December with another French automaker, Renault SA (RNO), to build a 7 billion yuan production facility in Wuhan.
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