BMW sees only fragile rebound after Q3 miss

BMW sees only fragile rebound after Q3 miss

Frankfurt: Germany’s BMW gave a tepid markets outlook and predicted the euro would stay strong after third-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) shrank 86% amid a global economic slump.

Shares in world’s biggest maker of premium cars fell 6.2 % by 1:27pm, the biggest decliner in the DJ Stoxx European car sector index which was down 3.5%.

Analysts cited disappointing third-quarter results - its core automobiles business lost 76 million euros ($112.3 million) before interest and tax in the quarter - and a lack of apparent impetus to inspire confidence in the stock.

“We still see several risks at BMW from currencies, especially euro/sterling, and lower residuals in the future and therefore confirm our negative view on BMW," DZ Bank analyst Michael Punzet told clients.

BMW said on Tuesday it still saw positive 2009 earnings thanks to cost cuts even as it repeated sales volume was set to fall 10-15%.

“We expect that the markets will make a gradual recovery over the coming year", chief executive Norbert Reithofer said.

But the company said the traditional big three markets - North America, Europe and Japan - were expected to generate low and below-average growth in the quarters ahead and saw scant relief on the foreign exchange rate front.

“Given the current high levels of state and trade balance deficits and banks’ needs to record high levels of write-downs in those two countries, there is a risk that the U.S. dollar and the British pound will weaken further in the medium term."

BMW posted its first year-on-year volume gain this year in September and has forecast this would become a trend during the rest of 2009 thanks to launches of new models such as the BMW X1 and 5 Series Gran Turismo.

BMW had said on 7 October that 2009 sales volume might drop by only 10-155 - a key forecast since its finance chief had said in September there was a good chance the group could post a 2009 profit if volumes were not worse than that level.

In the first nine months of 2009, group volumes fell 15.7% to 939,554 vehicles.

Daimler AG, whose Mercedes-Benz Cars premium division is BMW’s archrival, reported third-quarter group EBIT of 470 million euros.

Volkswagen, the parent of premium brand Audi, made an operating profit of 278 million.

Shares of BMW trade at around 25 times 12-month forward earnings, a discount to Daimler on 36 times but a premium to VW’s multiple of nearly 17, according to StarMine, which weights analysts’ estimates by their forecasting accuracy.