Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-largest automaker, said Friday its third-quarter net profit rose 8.9 percent from a year earlier on the back of increased profits from its equity investments.
Net profit came to 903.2 billion won (US$849.6 million) in the July-September period, compared to 829.5 billion won a year earlier, the Seoul-based company said in a regulatory filing.
Sales nearly remained flat at 11.63 trillion won, up a mere 0.1 percent in the quarter from a year ago, while operating profit fell 13.1 percent to 696.3 billion won.
The company said its operating profit worsened due to the won's sharp rise against the U.S. dollar. A stronger won usually makes exports more expensive in overseas markets, lowering the value of exporters' dollar earnings.
The sales of cars by Kia rose 2.6 percent to 613,181 units in the third quarter, up from 630,048 units a year ago.
For the first nine months of the year, Kia posted 35.83 trillion won in sales, down 0.4 percent from a year ago, with its net profit falling 8.3 percent to 2.87 trillion won. Operating profit was down 19 percent to 2.52 trillion won.
The stronger won and the labor union's partial strike hurt sales and operating profit during the first three quarters of this year, the company said.
Between August and September, the carmaker's unionized workers went on a partial strike for a wage increase, which cost the carmaker 413.5 billion won in lost production.
Kia predicted that growing uncertainties in the global financial market stemming from the Fed's plan to pull back from its bond purchases and the upward trend of the local currency versus the greenback will keep its business conditions in dire straits even in the October-December period of 2013.
Shares of Kia rose 0.47 percent to 63,600 won as of 11:32 a.m. on the Seoul bourse