ISTANBUL, April 30 (Reuters) - Turkish automaker Tofasposted first-quarter net profit of 118.3 million lira ($79.66 million), more than three times higher than the previous year, as its markets recovered from last year's sharp decline.
Revenues for the period were 78 percent higher on the year at 1.55 billion lira, according to figures published late on Thursday.
According to the average forecast in the survey of eight analysts, net profit was seen at 72 million lira and sales were forecast at 1.4 billion lira.
Turkey's automotive sector, the heart of its export industry, was hit by the sharp slowdown in key export markets in Europe and also weak domestic demand last year.
Net profit had shrunk 60 percent in the first quarter of 2009, when sales were down a third.
The launch of a new Doblo model and an increase in exports due to the end of destocking in Europe are expected to have boosted the automobile manufacturer.
Italian automaker Fiatand Koc Holding , Turkey's biggest conglomerate, each own 38 percent of Tofas, whose manufacturing is located in the city of Bursa.
Shares in Tofas quadrupled in 2009, sharply outperforming a 97 percent rise in the main Istanbul share index. (Reporting by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)
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