BMW posts 'sharp' profit growth, upgrades 2010 outlook
BMW, the world's leading luxury car maker, posted Wednesday "sharp growth" in first-quarter profit, erasing its loss a year earlier amid a pick-up in global sales of high-end automobiles.
BMW reported a net profit of 324 million euros (420 million dollars), and upgraded its full-year outlook.
The company made a net loss of 152 million euros in the first three months of 2009.
BMW reported core earnings from its auto division of 291 million euros on sales of 12.443 billion, compared with a first-quarter 2009 loss of 251 million on 11.5 billion euros in sales.
The net profit figure exceeded an analyst forecast of 247 million euros compiled by Dow Jones Newswires, but sales were slightly below their outlook of 12.6 billion euros.
A total of 315,614 vehicles were delivered, an increase of 13.8 percent.
Core earnings for the entire group, including BMW motorcycles and financial services, came to 449 million euros, compared with a loss of 55 million in the first three months of 2009.
For all of 2010, chairman Norbert Reithofer said the group was "aiming to achieve significantly higher group earnings" than in 2009, an improvement from the previous outlook for "notable" growth.
BMW reported 120 million euros in earnings last year.
"We increased earnings significantly in the first quarter and are now back on a growth course on almost all car markets," a statement quoted Reithofer as saying.
"We expect that earnings will grow dynamically over the course of the year," he added.
The company plans to sell more than 1.3 billion automobiles this year to remain ahead of rivals Daimler and Audi in the premium car segment, a forecast that was unchanged.
Most regions around the world reported higher sales, with Asia posting a jump of 55.7 percent and North America gaining 9.2 percent.
BMW's results were boosted by strong sales of the company's new 5 Series and its new X1 sports utility vehicle.
Mini sales were 13.6 percent higher and the BMW group also sold a total of 279 Rolls-Royce limousines, a gain of more than 60 percent.
The statement termed the launch of the new Rolls-Royce Ghost "extremely successful."
© 2010 AFP