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Hotai Motor remains top earner in local car sector

TAIPEI -- Hotai Motor Co. (和泰汽車), the local sales agent for Toyota, said Tuesday that it posted a more-than 25-percent sequential increase in earnings for the first half of this year, helping it to retain the title as the most profitable car distributor in Taiwan.

In the first six months of this year, Hotai posted NT$4.75 billion (US$158 million) in net profit, up 25.82 percent from a year earlier. Its earnings per share (EPS) for the six-month period stood at NT$8.69, up from NT$6.91 recorded over the same period of last year.

Hotai's first-half EPS beat NT$8.25 recorded by its nearest rival, Yulon Nissan Motor Co. (裕隆日產), to retain its position as the top earner in the local auto sector.

In the second quarter, Hotai recorded NT$2.5 billion in net profit, up 53 percent from a year earlier, with EPS of NT$4.58. Market analysts said the improvement in the second quarter's bottom line reflected sales growth as well as revenue generated from non-core business.

Hotai said the earnings growth in the first half reflected its efforts to launch two new models — the Altis and the Vios — which helped boost sales to 675,000 units, up 8.7 percent from a year earlier.

The car supplier said that sales of the imported Lexus marque, which it also distrubutes in Taiwan, for the six-month period rose 30 percent from a year earlier to 6,400 units. Due to the significant growth, Hotai has raised its forecast of Lexus car shipments for 2014 by 20 percent to 13,000 units.

In the six-month period, Hotai's consolidated sales rose 30 percent from a year earlier to NT$79.47 billion. Sales growth continued into July, when its consolidated sales rose 17.71 percent year-on-year to NT$16.39 billion.

Hotai said it does not expect the ongoing ghost month that ends Aug. 24 — traditionally a poor sales period — to impose much impact on sales in the current month.

On Tuesday, Hotai shares rose 1.50 percent to close at NT$373.50 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, where the weighted index ended down 0.1 percent at 9,163.12 points.

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