TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp on Thursday posted a 43.8 percent jump in its first-quarter operating profit, a sixth consecutive year-on-year rise, boosted by strong sales growth in its biggest market, India, and at home.
Operating profit at Japan's No. 4 automaker came in at 85.1 billion yen ($769 million) in April-June, up from 59.2 billion yen a year ago and above an average forecast for 73.96 billion from eight analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales in India, which accounts for roughly half of the compact carmaker's global vehicle sales, rose 14.3 percent.
The maker of the Baleno compact hatchback and the Vitara Brezza compact SUV dominates the Indian market through its majority stake in Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country's largest automaker
Last week Maruti Suzuki posted a quarterly profit that missed estimates even though sales grew steadily, as a rise in commodity prices and the impact of a new nationwide sales tax ate into earnings.
Suzuki's sales in Japan rose 8.1 percent, while sales in Europe rose 19.8 percent.
Despite the quarterly rise, the automaker kept its forecast for full-year operating profit to slide 10 percent to 240 billion yen as it expects increased research and development costs to offset continued sales growth in India and Europe.
Suzuki owns 56.2 percent of Maruti, and gets the bulk of its revenues from the Indian partnership, which has a market value of around $30 billion, higher than Suzuki's market capitalisation of about $20.5 billion.
($1 = 110.6700 yen)
Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Himani Sarkar