Higher car sales than expected and cost cuts helped Malaysian national carmaker Proton Holdings to post a large rise in second quarter net profit.

Proton's net profit for the second quarter ended 30 September 2009 rose 87% to RM82.1m and first half earnings were up 42% to RM136.6m.

Sales were 14% higher at RM2.1bn for the quarter while first half revenue was up 11% to RM3.96bn.

Proton has increased its market share to 29% from 26% in March.

Proton has targeted domestic and export sales of 155,000 and 30,000 units respectively for the financial year ending March 31 2010. In fiscal year 2009, it sold 141,958 vehicles.

Managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohd Tahir was optimistic this year's domestic sales target of 155,000 units could be achieved but wasn't so sure 30,000 export units would be shipped.

"Some of the (export) markets are unstable, so that can be a bit challenging. Nevertheless, I'm still confident we can do at least 25,000 units," he said.

Proton also said it hoped to announce a strategic partner very soon.

"Talks are very intense now," Syed Zainal Abidin said, without naming the other party.

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