HONG KONG, March 27 Dongfeng Motor Group
, China's second-largest automaker, posted a 13 percent
fall in 2012 profit, its biggest drop since 2005 due to sluggish
sales of Japanese cars made at its China ventures following the
outbreak of a territorial row between the two countries.
Dongfeng, which counts Nissan Motor Co and Honda
Motor Co among its partners, earned 9.1 billion yuan in
net profit last year, down from 10.5 billion yuan a year earlier
and compared with a consensus forecast of 8.5 billion yuan of 3
analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Its outlook may improve moderately in 2013 as new models,
including the new Teana, which was launched earlier this month
through its joint venture with Nissan, bring consumers back to
the showrooms, analysts say.
A recovery in China's economy would also help boost demand
for Dongfeng's medium and heavy truck business, which took a
hit last year due to a slowdown in construction activity, they
Dongfeng's Hong Kong-listed shares closed at HK$10.50 on
Wednesday, up 2.92 percent ahead of the release of its annual
earnings and beating a 0.69 percent rise of the Hang Seng Index
($1 = 6.2118 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee in HONG KONG and Fang Yan in
BEIJING; editing by James Jukwey)