SEOUL (AP) - Hyundai Motor Co. said Thursday that its third-quarter net profit rose 44.8 percent as the largest South Korean automaker suffered no production losses from labor unrest, as it did in the same quarter in 2006.
Hyundai Motor, the world's sixth-largest automaker, earned 425.5 billion won (US$464.6 million; euro325.7 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30, the company said in a statement.
Hyundai posted a net profit of 293.8 billion won a year earlier.
The result was better than expected.
The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires forecast that Hyundai would post a net profit of 326.8 billion won (US$356.9 million; euro250.2 million).
Sales during the quarter rose 19.6 percent to 7.04 trillion won (US$7.69 billion; euro5.39 billion) from 5.89 trillion won a year earlier.
The analysts forecast that sales would amount to 6.74 trillion won.
Hyundai said its sales figure was the largest-ever for the third quarter, as it ended this year's annual collective wage negotiations without a strike.
Hyundai experienced a major strike last year beginning in late June and running through much of July, causing production losses that hurt sales and profit.
The automaker also reached a new wage deal last month and averted a walkout over annual salary negotiations for the first time in a decade.
The company's union has walked off the job every year but one since it was founded in 1987.
Hyundai, the world's sixth-largest automaker, along with affiliate Kia Motors Corp. aims to become the fifth-largest by 2010.
In September, Hyundai lowered its 2007 U.S. sales target by 8.1 percent, citing tougher competition and falling demand for vehicles amid the subprime mortgage crisis.
The company also lowered its sales forecast for China by 16 percent amid sluggish demand.Hyundai sold 2.56 million vehicles worldwide last year.