Japan's Suzuki sees April-December net profit rise 19%

Japan's Suzuki Motor said Thursday its net profit in the nine months to December jumped 19.2 percent to $517.8 million, thanks to strong Asian and domestic sales that offset a slump in Europe.

The small-car maker earned 48.42 billion yen ($517.8 million), while operating profit rose 5.9 percent to 92.87 billion yen on sales of 1.82 trillion yen, up 1.4 percent from a year earlier.

The firm also said it expected to earn a net profit of 70 billion yen in the year to March on estimated revenue of 2.6 trillion yen.

On Wednesday, Suzuki said it will resume production at its small unit in Myanmar, the latest in a push by Japanese firms to tap the once-isolated state as it embarks on a programme of social and economic reforms.

The firm withdrew from its money-losing US business late last year and has said it plans to renew its focus on fast-growing markets in Asia, including India, where it has seen huge success with its Maruti Suzuki unit.

Japan's automakers have been posting strong results in the latest earnings season, underscoring a recovery from the quake-tsunami disaster in 2011 and the surging value of the yen, which has sharply declined recent months.