Renault profitability follows sales to record high

Group’s operating margin rose 5.2 per cent to €1.9bn, as revenue rose 1.4% to €29.9bn

Renault said earlier this month that first-half sales volumes had risen almost 10 per cent to an all-time high.

Renault said earlier this month that first-half sales volumes had risen almost 10 per cent to an all-time high.

 

French carmaker Renault said on Friday it achieved record profitability in the first half as emerging-market sales surged, more than offsetting exchange-rate challenges.

The group’s operating margin rose 5.2 per cent to €1.9 billion ($2.23 billion), or 6.4 per cent of sales, from 6.2 per cent a year earlier. Revenue rose 1.4 per cent to €29.9 billion, the carmaker said.

Renault, which is exploring a closer tie-up with 43.4 per cent-owned alliance partner Nissan, has expanded its low-cost line-up and emerging market presence in recent years.

Chief executive Carlos Ghosn said the results were the fruit of Renault’s “strategy of regional diversification”.

Net income fell 16.3 per cent, however, to €2 billion, weighed down by a restructuring charge of about €150 million as well as a weaker US dollar, Argentinean peso and Brazilian real currencies.

Renault said earlier this month that first-half sales volumes had risen almost 10 per cent to an all-time high, helped by rebounding markets in Russia and South America.

The negative currency effects led to a 0.5 per cent decline in automotive revenues, which dipped to €26.9 billion despite pricing improvements.

The overall results were broadly in line with analyst expectations, based on an inquiry financial poll for Reuters.

Reiterating full-year guidance, finance chief Clotilde Delbos told reporters that Renault expected “almost zero” sales in Iran in the second half as new US sanctions bite. Renault has no recent Iran investments to write down, she added.

Delbos also said new European emissions-test standards continued to add “uncertainty” to the second-half outlook. The company declined to quantify the effect of any disruption.

Mercedes maker Daimler and French auto parts supplier Valeo have both warned of an earnings hit from the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test standards taking effect in September.

There is “still some work to do” for Renault to meet vehicle certification deadlines, chief operating officer Thierry Bollore said, although he added that Renault did not expect the issue to have any significant negative impact on its business.