Rebound in China boosts BMW to third-quarter profit

Jill Petzinger
·Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
A picture taken on March 18, 2020 shows a view of the headquarters of German carmaker BMW in Munich, southern Germany, before the group presents its financial results for 2019. - BMW said it would close European and South African factories accounting for half its output for a month, matching other car giants stricken by coronavirus containment measures. It also warned that profits this year would be significantly lower as a result of the crisis. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)
BMW posted a 30% increase in China sales. Photo: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

German premium carmaker BMW (BMW.DE) said on Wednesday that pre-tax profit soared by almost 10% to €2.46bn (£2.2bn, $2.87bn) in the third quarter of the year, compared to the same period in 2019. Profits were boosted by a 31% year-on-year sales rebound in the Chinese market that offset a slump in demand in the US as that market continued to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.

Overall, the Munich-based carmaker suffered a 1.4% drop in group sales revenue in the quarter — falling to €26.28bn.

In its car division, the earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margin was 6.7% in the quarter, compared to 6.6% a year ago, and -10.4% in the second quarter, when coronavirus lockdowns were just coming to an end in many countries.

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BMW said in its report on Wednesday that its Group earnings before tax will shrink by more than 10% for the full year in 2020, and its EBIT margin will drop to between 0% and 3%.

In October, BMW already reported higher free cash flow than expected in the third quarter — just over €3bn compared with €714m in the same quarter of 2019. It said this was mainly thanks to faster recovery in several markets, which had boosted sales growth.

BMW’s results are in line with its rival Daimler (DAI.DE), who in October reported robust third-quarter earnings before interest and tax of €3.07bn, thanks in part to EU car sales recovering a little after the second quarter coronavirus lockdown slump.

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New car registrations in the bloc ticked up by 1.1% in September year-on-year, but the recovery was patchy — the UK had the worst September for sales in 20 years.

Germany’s Volkswagen (VOW3.DE) swung back to profit in the third quarter, largely led by strong demand in China, where sales it said have rebounded to pre-crisis levels.

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