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General Motors Triples Profit From China and Japan

May 6 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp., the world's largest automaker, said first-quarter net income from ventures in China and Japan more than tripled to $268 million on rising sales and a change in Japanese pension regulations.

Earnings from the Chinese ventures, led by Shanghai General Motors Co., rose to $162 million from $44 million in the year- earlier quarter, the Detroit-based automaker said in a report filed with U.S. regulators. Profit from its stakes in three Japanese automakers increased to $106 million from $32 million.

General Motors is expanding in Asia to take advantage of rising demand in nations such as China, where car sales surged 76 percent last year. The automaker last month said first-quarter net income from its Asia-Pacific region rose to $275 million from $75 million, representing about a fifth of total profit.

The Asia-Pacific increase included a $40 million gain from its 20 percent stake in Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp. related to a change in Japanese law that reduced Suzuki's pension obligation, General Motors said April 20. The U.S. company's Japanese holdings also include 20 percent of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., which builds Subaru vehicles, and 12 percent of Isuzu Motors Ltd.

General Motors' loss from affiliates in South Korea narrowed to $8 million from $12 million, the company said in a 10-Q quarterly report filed today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company's shares fell $1.29 to $46.27 at 4:16 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has declined 13 percent this year.

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