Hyundai Motor Co is hopeful the semiconductor shortage afflicting the global auto industry will ease next quarter and that its sales will return to pre-pandemic levels this year, according to the company’s executive vice president, Gang Hyun Seo.
Speaking in a call following Hyundai’s quarterly earnings, which missed analyst expectations, Gang said the chip crunch would likely continue until the end of the current quarter and then production could normalise after.
Hyundai said earlier Tuesday that operating profit in the three months through December fell 6.8% from a year earlier to 1.53-trillion won (roughly R19.63bn), lower than the 1.79-trillion won (roughly R22.9bn) average estimate of analysts tracked by Bloomberg. Its operating margin for 2021 was 5.7%.
Consolidated net income slid 57% to 546bn won (roughly R7bn), far below the 1.47-trillion won (roughly R18.8bn) estimate as taxes weighed. Sales, however, totalled 31-trillion won (roughly R396.3bn), up 6.1% and marginally higher than estimates thanks to a weaker Korean won and sales of value-added products.
Hyundai shares fell as much as 3.6%, the most since October 1. They pared the loss to close down 1.3%.
The company’s global retail sales declined 15% last quarter, with a slump of 43% in China. South Korea and North America sales fell 8.9% and 7.9%, respectively. Europe was an outlier with a 7% increase.
Hyundai aims to sell 4.32-million vehicles this year, including a 30% increase in eco-friendly cars. They will account for up to 40% of sales in Europe versus 32% in 2021, the company said. Its new Ioniq 6 electric-car will be released in South Korea in the first half.
Pyoung-Mo Kim, an analyst at Seoul-based DB Financial Investment, said prior to the results that a return to normal production for Hyundai could be delayed to late this year as chipmakers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co may raise prices.
In addition to supply-chain snags, higher commodity prices have been a burden. Hyundai said in November that cost of iron ore in the third quarter jumped 63% from a year earlier to $165 a tonne, while aluminium rose 40% to $2,384 a tonne, and copper climbed 48% to $9,188.
Hyundai’s share of the global EV market is estimated to be 5.7% based on sales from January to November in 2021, according to data from Seoul-based Hana Financial Investment.
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