UPDATE 1-Kia Motors Q1 profit surges 91 pct; outlook rosy

Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:51pm EDT

* Kia Q1 consolidated net profit 953 bln won vs 499 bln won yr ago

* Kia car sales rise double-digit in China, U.S. and Korea

* S.Korean carmakers stand to gain most from Japan quake; analysts

* Kia shares up 1 pct in a wider market that was up 0.17 pct (Add Kia comments, background, share price)

SEOUL, April 29 (Reuters) - Kia Motors , South Korea's No.2 automaker, looks set for another strong quarter after posting a 91 percent jump in its net profit for the January to March period, powered by strong sales of new models and problems at its Japanese rivals.

South Korean carmakers Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia, which together rank fifth in global car sales, have been little affected by Japan's quake because they use few Japanese components, and stand to gain market share, analysts said.

On Thursday, Hyundai Motor reported a 47 percent jump in its net profit, helped by a popular line-up of new models which have been selling strongly in top markets such as China and the United States. The earnings drove its shares 7 percent higher to a record-high. [ID:nL3E7FS07C] [ID:nL3E7FS0QK]

In contrast, Japan's Honda Motor Co reported a 52 percent fall in quarterly operating profit and refrained from providing an outlook for the new business year due to the impact of last month's massive earthquake.[ID:nL3E7FR1DM]

Honda, Japan's No. 3 automaker, says that it would take until the end of the year before production returned to normal, echoing recent comments from Toyota Motor . [ID:nL3E7FM0CG]

Kia Motors reported a 91 percent jump in quarterly net profit, driven by double-digit sales growth in the United States, China and South Korea.

Kia said its new models such as the Optima sedan, Sportage R SUV and Picanto subcompact, along with its improved brand image, helped global sales jump 30 percent to 619,089 units in the first quarter from a year earlier.

Kia reported a 953.2 billion won ($888 million) net profit for January-March, compared with 498.5 billion won a year ago.

From this year, Kia has started to report earnings on a consolidated basis to reflect earnings of its affiliates including financial operations under new accounting rules, and there were no consensus guidelines for the consolidated results.

Kia's operating profit jumped 90 percent to 839.9 billion won in the first quarter from a year earlier, while its sales climbed 37 percent to 10.66 trillion won.

Kia shares were up 1 percent in a wider market that was up 0.17 percent as of 0036 GMT.

Shares in Kia have rallied in the past month, jumping 16 percent versus the broader market's 7 percent gain. ($1 = 1073.400 Korean Won) (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by David Chance)

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