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Economy

Indonesia's Astra International Q1 net profit up 63% on year

Robust car sales, coal rebound boost conglomerate's earnings

JAKARTA -- Astra International, Indonesia's largest publicly listed conglomerate, on Thursday said its net profit jumped 63% on the year to 5.08 trillion rupiah ($381 million) in the first three months of 2017, thanks to strong car sales and a recovery in its commodity businesses.

The company's revenue rose 16% on the year to 48.78 trillion rupiah. The core automotive segment was helped by a 27% increase in car sales to 161,000 vehicles, led by Toyota and Daihatsu models, lifting Astra's market share to 57% from 48% a year earlier. The auto business's bottom line was also helped by higher contributions from its joint ventures and affiliates.

Profit at United Tractors, Astra's mining and heavy equipment unit, doubled to 902 billion rupiah, as a recovery in coal prices boosted Komatsu machinery sales and its mining contracting business. Astra's agribusiness segment was also helped by higher crude palm oil prices.

The financial services segment recovered, thanks mainly to a turnaround at midsize lender Permata Bank, in which Astra holds a 44.6% stake. The bank suffered a big loss last year due to higher nonperforming loans.

Astra shares opened Thursday at 8,425 rupiah, up 0.6%.

"Looking ahead, the group is expected to benefit from the continued growth in the Indonesian economy, supported by higher commodity prices, although its automotive activities are expected to face increasing price competition," President Prijono Sugiarto said in a news release.

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