Suzuki Motor forecasts full-year operating profit to shrink by a quarter

TOKYO, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Suzuki Motor Corp on Thursday forecast operating profit to fall by a quarter to 160 billion yen ($1.53 billion) in the year to March as sales, including in its key Indian market, shrank amid the coronavirus pandemic.

That prediction, below a 215.1 billion yen profit last business year, was more than an average estimate for a 124.3 billion yen annual profit compiled from 14 analysts polled by Refinitiv.

India accounts for just over half of Suzuki’s global car sales. Through its majority stake in Maruti Suzuki India Ltd , the company accounts for roughly one in every two cars sold in the country.

Sales there and in other markets, including Japan, Indonesia and Europe have suffered as people stay away from dealerships.

Last business year, Maruti Suzuki paid Suzuki 38.2 billion rupees in royalties, or about 5% of its revenue, according to its annual report.

The forecast came as Suzuki posted a 73.6 billion yen operating profit in the three months ended Sept 30 compared with a profit of 55.9 billion yen a year earlier, according to Reuters’ calculations.

Japan’s fourth-largest automaker had declined to give a full year forecast when it reported it first quarter results, saying the coronavirus pandemic made predicting its future performance difficult.

$1 = 104.3100 yen Reporting by Tim Kelly; editing by Richard Pullin