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BMW races ahead to new quarterly records

Agence France-Presse
BMW races ahead to new quarterly records

EPA

The German automaker sells 557,605 vehicles worldwide in the first quarter of 2016

FRANKFURT, Germany – German automaker BMW on Tuesday, May 3, said the road towards its full-year targets was clear after it clocked up record sales volumes and earnings in the first 3 months.

“The BMW group remains confident in achieving its forecast targets for the current financial year,” said chief executive Harald Krueger.

“We reaffirm our targets for the full year. We forecast slight increases, and thus new record figures for sales volume and group profit before tax in 2016,” Krueger said.

In the period from January to March, BMW sold a total 557,605 vehicles worldwide, a record for the first quarter, it said.

That translated into revenues of 20.85 billion euros ($24 billion), or a drop of 0.3% from the year-earlier figure, largely due to “unfavorable currency factors, such as the value of the British pound and the Chinese renminbi against the euro,” the carmaker said.

Underlying, or operating, profit fell by 2.5% to 2.46 billion euros, but bottom-line net profit rose by 8.2% to 1.64 billion euros, “also marking a new first-quarter record,” BMW said.

“Our first-quarter performance is further proof of our ability to generate positive earnings with our core business, despite a volatile environment,” said CEO Krueger.

“The decisive factor for us is not short-term profit but sustainable, profitable growth.”

In regional terms, sales volumes grew by 9.5% to 257,120 vehicles in Europe, with double-digit growth seen in Britain, France, and Italy.

Sales to Asia were also up strongly, rising by 9.9% to 183,204, with sales in China up 10.5%.

By contrast, sales to the Americas decreased by 8.7% to 100,245 units and sales in the US alone were down 10.8% at 81,601 vehicles.

Nevertheless, investors did not appear to be particularly impressed and BMW shares were among the main losers on the Frankfurt stock exchange on Tuesday, shedding 3%, while the overall market was down by around 1.6%.

The first-quarter results were “solid”, even if revenues came in a bit lower than expected due to exchange rate effects, said DZ Bank analyst, Michael Punzet.

“With first-quarter numbers only just matching expectations, and weaker numbers in China, the share is likely to react negatively,” said LBBW analyst, Frank Biller. – Rappler.com

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