SHANGHAI, March 28 SAIC Motor Corp Ltd
, China's biggest automaker by sales, reported on
Thursday a 2.6 percent rise in profit last year, its slowest
growth since 2008, weighed down by a slowing economy and
increasing competition from local rivals.
SAIC, a long-time partner of General Motors Co and
Volkswagen AG, made 20.8 billion yuan in profit for
2012, up from 20.2 billion yuan a year earlier. That compared
with the average forecast of 21.4 billion yuan in a Thomson
Reuters poll of 13 analysts.
SAIC, which focuses mostly on the domestic market, is facing
growing competition from much smaller rivals Geely and
Great Wall Motor, whose earnings have been bolstered
by their export business.
Net profits at Geely and Great Wall surged 32 percent and 66
percent, respectively, last year.
SAIC's Shanghai-listed shares closed at 15.2 yuan on
Thursday, up 2.1 percent before the release of its annual
earnings, outperforming a 2.8 percent fall of the broader
Shanghai Composite Index.
(Reporting by Fang Yan in BEIJING, Samuel Shen and Kazunori
Takada in SHANGHAI; Editing by Chris Gallagher)