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Kia posts record revenue, profit on sales

Kia Motors Corp. saw its sales and profits reach an all-time high in 2010, fueled by massive improvements in sales seen both at home and abroad.

The carmaker Friday reported yearly sales of 23.26 trillion won ($20.88 billion) and operating profit of 1.68 trillion won, up respectively 26.3 percent and 46.8 percent from a year earlier.

Over the corresponding period, the company’s net profits jumped 55.4 percent to come in at 2.25 trillion won.

The company sold 1.4 million vehicles in the domestic and overseas markets, up 22.6 percent from 2009.

By market, Kia’s local sales increased 34.5 percent while exports jumped 65.5 percent.

Including vehicles produced at its overseas plants, the company’s sales came in at 2.09 million units.

After returning to profit in 2008, the company’s figures have improved rapidly aided by a string of successful new models.

Since 2008, Kia has seen a close to 20-fold increase in net profits, while sales increased by about 7 trillion won.

Buoyed by such changes, the value of Kia shares have increased at the fastest rate, 473.91 percent, among those included in the KOSPI200 index in the 39-month period starting on October 31, 2007 and ending on Jan. 24.

On October 31, 2007, the benchmark KOSPI closed at the then-record high of 2,064.85 points, which was replaced by 2,082.16 points recorded on Jan. 24. The KOSPI has since risen to a new high of 2,115.01 points on Jan. 27.

As for this year, the company hopes to raise overall sales by about 16 percent to 2.43 million units, and to continue pushing the K5 sedan in the global market.

“Preparations are being made to produce the K5 at the Georgia plant, and exclusive model for China will go into production in Yancheng,” Kia vice president Lee Jae-rok said.

“The current production capacity for the K5 in Korea is 150,000 units, but it can be raised to 190,000 units by improving productivity. These issues, including production (of K5) in the U.S., are being discussed with the labor union.”

Regarding plans for expanding the company’s production network, Lee ruled out the possibility of building a plant in India saying that the company will focus on further stabilizing its operations and selling new models.

By Choi He-suk  (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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