The listed arm of Chinese appliance maker Haier posted a 12-percent rise in fourth-quarter net earnings, even as fierce competition, soaring raw material costs, and a cut in export tax rebates ate into full-year profit.
Qingdao Haier Refrigerator Co. Ltd. posted earnings of 84.1 million yuan (approx. U.S. $10.2 million) in the October to December period, versus 75.3 million yuan (approx. $9.1 million) a year earlier, calculated from previously reported figures and in results published in the official Shanghai Securities News.
Full-year net edged up just 0.1 percent to 369.4 million yuan (approx. $44.6 million), though revenue rose 30.9 percent to 15.3 billion yuan (approx. $1.8 billion).
Analysts had expected earnings to slip for the third straight year as the world's fourth-largest appliance maker -- behind Whirlpool Corp., Electrolux, and BSH -- grapples with a price war made worse by stubborn overcapacity.
"In 2004, there was fierce competition in the home appliances sector, a large rise in raw material costs, (and) a cut in export tax rebates," the company said in a statement, referring to operating conditions as "abominable."
Revenue should hit 17 billion yuan (approx. $2.1 billion) in 2005, the company added, without giving an earnings outlook. (Reuters)
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