India's Hero MotoCorp Q1 net profit falls 10.7 pct as expected

NEW DELHI, July 24 Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:39am EDT

NEW DELHI, July 24 (Reuters) - Hero MotoCorp Ltd, India's largest motorcycle maker, posted a 10.7 percent fall in its first-quarter profit, the fourth straight quarterly decline, as margin benefits from price increases were offset by sluggish sales volumes.

Hero reported a net profit of 5.49 billion rupees ($92 million) for the three months to end-June, compared with 6.15 billion rupees a year earlier. Net sales fell to 61.27 billion rupees from 62.47 billion rupees.

Analysts on average had forecast a profit of 5.5 billion rupees, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Hero's vehicle sales dropped 4 percent in the domestic market during the quarter, hurt by fuel price increases and subdued economic growth, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Hero and its local rival Bajaj Auto Ltd are also facing increased competition from Honda Motor Co, which has been gaining ground in a market where two-wheelers account for the majority of passenger vehicles. ($1 = 59.7650 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)