Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Hyundai Motor Misses Estimate on Worker Strikes, Stronger Won

Hyundai Motor Co.’s earnings fell short of estimates after labor strikes in South Korea hurt output and a stronger won weakened its competitiveness amid tepid demand in the U.S. and China.

Fourth-quarter operating profit fell 24 percent to 775 billion won ($731 million), the Seoul, South Korea-based company said in a statement Thursday. That compares with the 1.12 trillion-won average of 22 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Worker strikes over wages stretched into mid-January, while sales fell in its biggest overseas markets -- the U.S. and China. Among Asian currencies, the won strengthened the most against the dollar and yen in the fourth quarter, undermining Hyundai’s competitiveness with Japanese automakers like Toyota Motor Corp. and eroding the value of its earnings when converted to won.

“The earnings slump is likely to continue in the first quarter due to the strengthening won and the weak production at home and the U.S.,” Esther Yim, an analyst at Samsung Securities in Seoul, said by phone before the earnings. “Hyundai may start recovering in the second quarter, helped by new models and a rebound in demand in China.”

Other highlights:

  • Pays year-end dividend of 3,000 won
  • Fourth-quarter operating profit compares with 1.02 trillion won a year ago
  • Sales in the period was 24.5 trillion won; est. 24.1 trillion won
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