Proton on Thursday reported its second straight quarterly profit, due to higher sales and lower operating costs, and said it expects current growth momentum to be sustained.

For the quarter to the end of December, the Malaysian national car maker posted net profit of 10.3m ringgit ($US3.2m; EUR2.2m), up from a loss of 281.5m ringgit (US$87.4m; euro59.6m) in the same period a year earlier, the Associated Press (AP), reported, adding that the July-September quarterly profit was 3.5m ringgit.

Fiscal Q3 revenue rose 51% to 1.45 billion ringgit.

"The improved performance in the current quarter is mainly due to increased sales volume and higher profit margins arising from better product mix," Proton said in a statement cited by the news agency.

For the nine months to the end of December, Proton's loss reduced 94% year on year to 32.9m ringgit.

Proton reportedly said it was "in good stead" to post stronger earnings for the fiscal fourth quarter ending 31 March, citing stronger exports and cost reduction measures.

An improved domestic market and strong orders for its Saga and Persona cars, which were launched in the last six months, will also help boost its market share, the carmaker told the news agency, though it didn't provide a specific earnings forecast.

The Associated Press said a Thomson One Analytics poll of 15 analysts estimated Proton would report a full-year loss of 62.5m ringgit ($19m; EUR13m).

Proton's share of the domestic passenger car market fell from 60% in 2001 to 24% last year as more Malaysians bought imported vehicles in a liberalised market.

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