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Indonesia’s automaker reports 61% profit growth

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November 1, 2008

Indonesia’s automaker reports 61% profit growth

Indonesia's largest automotive distributor, PT Astra International Tbk, on Friday said it recorded a 61 percent jump in nine-month net profit on strong automotive sales and commodities prices, reported Reuters.

Indonesia's automotive sales volumes rose by nearly a fifth in the first nine months of 2008, supported by strong consumer spending in the country's resource-rich areas as commodity prices soared.

Astra is the distributor of a number of top vehicle brands including Toyota, Daihatsu, Peugeot, and BMW. It also manufactures and distributes motorcycles from Honda Motor.

The company, which has a market value of $2.95 billion, also controls the largest listed plantation company in the country, PT Astra Agro Lestaru, and has businesses in banks, toll roads and heavy machinery.

"Market conditions will be more challenging with tight liquidity and lower commodity prices," the company's president director, Michael Ruslim, said in a statement.

"But although there might be a change in business forecasts, the company continues to be in a secure financial condition and in a strong position to make use of available opportunities."

The company, controlled by Singapore's Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd, said its net profit rose to 7.37 trillion rupiah ($673 million) in the January-September period from 4.58 trillion a year earlier.

Revenue rose 45.2 percent to 73.77 trillion rupiah as the company's vehicles and motorcycles sales rose by nearly 50 percent in the first nine months of this year compared to the year-ago period.

Some analysts and industry experts have predicted vehicle sales in Indonesia to top 600,000 units this year, up from 434,473 units in 2007, helped by lower interest rates.

But, with the central bank hiking interest rates gradually since May to tame high inflation, some analysts said vehicles and motorcycles sales might slow down.

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