Fiat Chrysler profit skids as sales slow

A new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sign unveiled at Chrysler Group World Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan May 6, 2014. — Reuters pic
A new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sign unveiled at Chrysler Group World Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan May 6, 2014. — Reuters pic

MILAN, Feb 6 — US-Italian automaker Fiat Chrysler said today its net earnings fell by nearly a fifth last year as sales slowed, although both rose in the final quarter.

The firm, which is set to merge with France’s Peugeot-Citroen to create the world’s third-largest automaker by revenues, saw net earnings fall 19 per cent to €2.7 billion (RM12.3 billion) in 2019. 

Sales slid 2.0 per cent to €108.2 billion, similar to the slowdown in the global auto market.

Although sales by volume slipped in the key North American market, Fiat Chrysler said it managed to increase margins there and made record earnings before interest payments and taxes in the region.

The results in the fourth quarter also gave reason for hope.

Revenues edged higher even if unit sales dipped. Moreover, net profit shot 35 per cent higher to nearly €1.6 billion, accounting for nearly half of the 2019 total.

“Last year was a historic year for FCA,” chief executive Mike Manley said in a statement.

“We continued to deliver value for our shareholders and we took actions to thrive in the future by substantially strengthening our financial position, committing to key product investments and entering into a combination agreement with PSA,” he added.

The firm confirmed its 2020 outlook despite “new headwinds”, saying it was monitoring recent developments such as increases in raw materials prices and the global impact of the coronavirus.

It is targeting adjusted diluted earnings per share at €2.80, up from €2.73 in 2019 but below the €3 it earned in 2018.

The firm also expects operating profits to rise to nearly €7 billion from €6.7 billion in 2019.

Fiat Chrysler shares accelerated 3.0 per cent in afternoon trading in Milan, where the main market index was up 0.7 per cent. — AFP

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