BMW reports higher Q3 profit

FRANKFURT AM MAIN (AFP) – German luxury carmaker BMW said yesterday that its third quarter net profit grew, beating expectations, as demand recovered from the crippling lockdowns of the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Munich-based company posted a net profit of EUR1.8 billion, up from EUR1.5 billion in the same period last year as it “recovered from the previously massive impact of the pandemic”, BMW said in a statement. Sales were down 1.4 per cent to EUR26.3 billion.

Analysts had predicted third quarter net profit of EUR1.5 billion on sales at EUR26.1 billion, according to the FactSet financial information service.

BMW suffered its first loss in 10 years in the second quarter as the health crisis shuttered showrooms, closed factories and ravaged demand but the auto market then bounced back strongly as restrictions were eased. But after a better third quarter, “the pandemic is now clearly regaining momentum”, BMW said, adding that “a high level of uncertainty remains”.

The company said it still expected to see a significant fall in earnings and car sales for full-year 2020. The overall performance however “underlines BMW’s operational strength and ability to perform well within a challenging environment” Chief Executive Oliver Zipse said in a statement

Operating profit at BMW’s automobiles segment alone, which includes the Mini and Rolls-Royce marques, fell 2.5 per cent to EUR1.5 billion with more than 675,000 cars delivered worldwide in the third quarter.

BMW’s workforce is around 2,000 below the previous year’s level as it puts all new recruitment under “stringent critical review”, with demand in all its key markets “significantly reduced in light of the coronavirus pandemic”, it said.

The automaker is also undergoing a transformation as it races to catch up with European Union (EU) emissions requirements.

Visitors gather near a BMW M8 model on display at the Auto China 2020 show in Beijing. PHOTO: AP