Business conditions for the automobile industry deteriorated sharply again in the second quarter due to further ongoing steep rises in oil and raw material prices, the weakness of the US dollar, the impact of the international financial crisis and a weaker US economy. As a result, the price level of pre-owned cars in the USA – and hence the level of revenues that can be generated on vehicles returned at the end of leases – remained under further pressure. This situation has made it necessary for the BMW Group to increase its risk provision.
The expense recognised for provisions and allowances for residual value risks and bad debts – including the euro 236 million recorded in the first quarter – increased in total to euro 695 million, thus significantly holding down earnings for the first half of the year. In addition, an expense of euro 107 million was recorded in conjunction with measures already announced to reduce the size of the workforce.
Adjusted return on sales improved to 7.3% for six-month period
The Group ‘s good operating performance in the current year is being overshadowed by the impact of a significantly less favourable environment. “At an operating level, the BMW Group has improved significantly during the first half of the year “, stated Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG on Friday in Munich. Adjusted for exceptional items – the expense of additional risk provision and one-time personnel expenses – the return on sales improved to 7.3% (first half-year year 2007: 7.0%).
The impact of external factors has increased substantially and resulted in additional costs so far this year to a high three-digit million amount. Despite the operational improvements made, it has not been possible to offset this amount in full as had previously been the case.
The BMW Group has therefore revised its earnings forecast to take account of less favourable market conditions. “We now expect that the pre-tax return on sales for the year to be at least 4% “, continued Reithofer. An EBIT margin of approximately 4% or higher is forecasted for the Automobiles segment. In sales volume terms, the BMW Group is still aiming for a new high level for the year.
Given the current difficult conditions, the BMW Group will continue to monitor the situation on the pre-owned car markets carefully and, if necessary, adjust the risk provision for residual value risks and bad debts during the second half of the year.
Implementation of strategy Number ONE remains top priority
Rising raw material prices, increasingly weaker sales markets in the USA and Europe due to the financial crisis as well as an unfavourable exchange rate environment require additional measures to be taken to ensure that the BMW Group remains on its successful course: “We will use the strong headwinds as an opportunity for change and continue the process of renovating and optimising our business in conjunction with strategy Number ONE. We must and we will intensify our efforts on both the cost and revenues side even further “, announced Reithofer. Implementation of the strategy Number ONE remains a top priority. The BMW Group is planning, amongst other things, to implement the following additional measures aimed at improving profitability:
* The BMW Group will continue to optimise its sales strategy in the light of changed market conditions. The company intends to retain its position as the world ‘s leading premium manufacturer in the future. This is only possible through growth. Sales volume growth, however, will not be pursued at the expense of profitability. In the light of the ongoing weakness of the US dollar and market, sales volumes will be reduced in the USA on a targeted basis as part of a new strategy for this region. Some of the vehicles originally intended for sale in the USA will be switched from the US dollar region to countries with higher margins. The BMW Group ‘s US sales volume figures for 2008 are therefore likely to be lower than one year ago. The emphasis is also being placed on profit-oriented growth in other regions.
* Production capacities worldwide will be brought even more closely into line with the major sales markets. The BMW Group has decided to reduce production volumes and increase selling prices.
* The introduction of a new working time account model at the beginning of April allows for even greater flexibility in working hours, therefore making it easier to offset production fluctuations.
* The BMW Group will also negotiate with the employee representatives about voluntary benefits beyond general pay.
* Within the financial services line of business, measures aimed at improving residual values and reducing bad debts will be pursued more intensely.
Reithofer: 2009 will also be a challenging year
The macro-economic situation in the automotive industry is unlikely to improve in the coming year. “We assume that 2009 will be another difficult year full of challenges “, explained Reithofer.
The benefits generated by the strategy Number ONE should be significantly more perceptible in 2010. The BMW Group aims for 2010, as an intermediate target, to achieve a Group return on sales of at least 6% and in Automobiles segment an EBIT of almost 6% or higher. By 2012, the BMW Group continues to target a return on capital employed (ROCE) in excess of 26% and an EBIT margin of 8% to 10% for its Automobiles segment.
Strategy Number ONE showing the first signs of success
“The increasing challenges clearly show that our strategy Number ONE – which we continue to implement rigorously – is an essential part of the process to safeguard the BMW Group ‘s future and increase its value “, emphasised Reithofer. The implementation of this strategy is making good progress.
The BMW Group is making good progress in the field of alternative electric-based engines. Results to date are very promising. “We have therefore decided to construct a vehicle equipped with an electro-engine ” continued Reithofer. At present, MINI brand vehicles are being used to gain invaluable insights into how a thrilling driving experience can be achieved with a powerful electro-engine. This is a further logical step in the implementation of the company ‘s EfficientDynamics strategy.
“The current situation does not only represent a challenge. We see it primarily as an opportunity for the BMW Group. The measures we are implementing are aimed at a significantly more demanding environment than one to two years ago. Our company will become even more efficient and we will continue to invest in our future “, stated Reithofer.
An array of new products is in the pipeline. The new 7 Series was recently presented to the general public. Moreover, future models such as the X1 and the Progressive Activity Sedan (PAS) will continue the tradition of “Sheer driving pleasure “, fully incorporating innovative features such as EfficientDynamics.
First half year 2008 affected by adverse external factors
Against the background of the difficult business conditions described above, second quarter earnings have been significantly affected by additional adverse factors which have offset the positive performance at an operating level. The higher expense recognised for residual value risks and bad debts as a result of unfavourable developments on the US market reduced second-quarter earnings by euro 459 million.
Compared to the previous year, Group revenues in the second quarter fell by 0.9% to euro 14,552 million (second quarter 2007: euro 14,683 million) primarily due to exchange rate factors. The profit before financial result (EBIT) fell by 58.3% to euro 425 million (second quarter 2007: euro 1,019 million). The pre-tax profit, at euro 602 million (second quarter 2007: euro 1,065 million), was down by 43.5%. The net profit decreased by 32.7% to euro 507 million (second quarter 2007: euro 753 million).
Revenues for the six-month period rose by 4.5% to euro 27,837 million (first half-year 2007: euro 26,634 million). Excluding the exchange rate impact, revenues increased by 9.9%. EBIT amounted to euro 1,252 million (first half-year 2007: euro 1,931 million/-35.2%) and the profit before tax was euro 1,243 million (first half-year 2007: euro 1,917 million /-35.2%), both therefore below the previous year ‘s figures. The pre-tax profit reported for the first half of 2007 included a one-time gain of euro 61 million on the conversion of the exchangeable bond on shares in the aero engine manufacturer, Rolls-Royce plc. Group net profit fell by 25.8% to euro 994 million (first half-year 2007: euro 1,340 million).
Adjusted for exceptional items – the expense of additional risk provision and one-time personnel expenses – the EBT margin improved to 7.3% (first-half year 2007: 7.0%):
(*Figures excluding provisions and allowances for residual value risks and bad debts, workforce reduction expense and the one-time gain on the settlement of the Rolls-Royce exchangeable bond).
Sales volume growth for all three brands
The BMW Group registered sales volume growth for all three brands for the period from April to June 2008, and hence new high levels for all brands. The total number of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand vehicles delivered to customers increased by 4.0% to 413,087 units (second quarter 2007: 397,009 units). Sales of BMW brand cars went up by 2.3% to 344,019 units (second quarter 2007: 336,230 units). The MINI brand also recorded strong growth with the second-quarter sales volume up by 13.5% to 68,756 units (second quarter 2007: 60,598 units). Rolls-Royce Motor Cars recorded an extremely high growth rate, with 312 units (second quarter 2007: 181 units) sold in the quarter (+72.4%).
The BMW Group sales volume for the six-month period increased by 4.7% to 764,874 units (first half-year 2007: 730,285 units). Sales of BMW brand cars went up by 2.4% to 637,569 units (first half-year 2007: 622,415 units) as a result of the success of the 1 Series , the X5 and the X6. 126,810 units (first half-year 2007: 107,576 units) of the MINI were sold in the period, 17.9% more than one year earlier. This was helped in particular by the performance of the MINI Clubman, which has been available on the markets since November 2007. The number of Rolls-Royce brand cars sold increased by 68.4% to 495 units (first half-year 2007: 294 units).
Second-quarter reported earnings for the Automobiles segment were adversely affected by the external factors mentioned above. EBIT fell by 52.1% to euro 395 million (second quarter 2007: euro 824 million) and the profit before tax decreased by 59.4% to euro 325 million (second quarter 2007: euro 801 million). Due to the ongoing weakness of the US dollar, segment revenues fell by 3.5% to euro 13,754 million (second quarter 2007: euro 14,257 million). Excluding the exchange rate impact, revenues increased by 1.8%.
Revenues for the six-month period edged up by 0.9% to euro 25,916 million (first half-year 2007: euro 25,675 million). The EBIT of the Automobiles segment fell by 31.7% to euro 1,014 million (first half-year 2007: euro 1,485 million) and the profit before tax decreased by 38.7% to euro 864 million (first half-year 2007: euro 1,410 million). Adjusted for exceptional items – the expense of additional risk provision and one-time personnel expenses – the EBIT margin in the Automobiles segment improved to 6.1% (first half-year 2007: 5.8%).
Motorcycles business affected by difficult market conditions
The Motorcycles segment sold 34,886 units during the period under report (second quarter 2007: 36,201/-3.6%). The main factor for the decrease in sales volume was a poor performance in the USA in the wake of the financial market crisis. The new two-cylinder models, the F 800 GS and the F 650 GS, are not yet available on the US market.
Second-quarter revenues of the Motorcycles segment totalled euro 392 million (second quarter 2007: euro 396 million/-1.0%), while EBIT was euro 56 million (second quarter 2007: euro 59 million/-5.1%) and the profit before tax was euro 53 million (second quarter 2007: euro 56 million/-5.4%).
Six-month segment revenues were down by 3.4% to euro 737 million (first half-year 2007: euro 763 million). The EBIT of the Motorcycles segment fell by 3.2% to euro 92 million (first half-year 2007: euro 95 million) and the profit before tax decreased by 3.3% to euro 87 million (first half-year 2007: euro 90 million).
Financial services business adversely affected by credit crisis
The Financial Services segment was again able to expand business during the period under report. The total business volume as disclosed in the balance sheet increased by 8.8% to euro 53,115 million (30 June 2007: euro 48,811 million). The number of lease and financing contracts in place with dealers and retail customers rose by 12.9% to a total of 2,806,776 contracts. The proportion of new cars of the BMW Group financed by the Financial Services segment was 46.4%, 2.4 percentage points above the proportion recorded one year earlier. Segment revenues climbed by 12.4% to euro 3,877 million (second quarter 2007: euro 3,449 million). The segment profit before tax was adversely affected by the impact of the financial crisis, as explained earlier. Segment EBIT decreased by 78.5% to euro 39 million (second quarter 2007: euro 181 million). The pre-tax profit fell by 66.1% to euro 64 million (second quarter 2007: euro 189 million).
Six month segment revenues climbed by 18.4% to euro 7,734 million (first half- year 2007: euro 6,532 million). Segment EBIT decreased by 68.0% to euro 118 million (first half-year 2007: euro 369 million). The pre-tax profit fell by 60.2% to euro 148 million (first half-year 2007: euro 372 million).
Workforce reduced at end of second quarter
The worldwide workforce at the end of the second quarter decreased to 105,802 employees (30 June 2007: 107,079 employees/-1.2%). The previously announced reduction of the workforce is progressing in line with plan. Since September 2007, the workforce has been reduced by approximately 1,500 employees, the number of temporary staff by approximately 4,000.