BMW Group Increases Profitability and EBIT Again in Fourth Quarter – Targets for 2019 Achieved
The BMW Group has successfully concluded the financial year 2019, continuing the upward trend in profitability in the fourth quarter. At the same time, between October and December 2019, revenues reached their highest level ever for a single quarter, reflecting the growing proportion of vehicles from the upper luxury segment. Over the full year, Group revenues exceeded 100 billion euros for the first time and were more than twice as high as in 2009.
"In 2019, we improved our profitability from quarter to quarter – despite a challenging market environment. This shows that we have the right products on the road and that our strategy is effective," stated the Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Oliver Zipse, on Thursday in Munich. "We are embracing the transformation of our industry with confidence and trust in our innovative strength. We recognised the signs of change at an early stage and made preparations accordingly. Our full potential is now emerging – at exactly the right moment."
Unequivocal commitment to achieving CO2-targets
The BMW Group is continuously working to reduce the CO2-emissions of its new car fleet. The company has always lived up to its voluntary commitment and will achieve the CO2 fleet target for its European new car registrations also this year. This is around 20 percent below last year´s target. One third of that step can be achieved by further improvements to conventional drivetrain systems and two-thirds by the growth in the field of electrified vehicles. The BMW Group’s endeavours to meet future mandatory CO2 and fuel consumption limits are therefore based on the combined impact of Efficient Dynamics technologies – which have been deployed by the BMW Group since 2007 – and the ongoing electrification of vehicles.
BMW Group to offer five all-electric series models by end of 2021
As a pioneer of electric mobility, the BMW Group is already today a leading manufacturer and supplier of electrified vehicles and is currently in the process of expanding its range significantly. By the end of 2021, the company intends to have more than one million vehicles with all-electric or plug-in hybrid drivetrains on the roads. At that stage, the BMW Group will offer five all-electric series production vehicles. Alongside the BMW i3, demand for which increased for the sixth year in succession, production of the all-electric MINI Cooper SE* was commenced at the Oxford plant (UK) towards the end of 2019. The BMW iX3 will go into production this year at the plant in Shenyang, China, followed in 2021 by the BMW iNEXT in Dingolfing, Germany, and the BMW i4 at the Munich plant – all of which will be equipped with fifth-generation electric drivetrain technology.
By 2023, the BMW Group will already have 25 electrified models on the roads – more than half of them all-electric. The key to achieving this objective is having intelligent vehicle architectures that, with the aid of a highly flexible production system, enable a model to be powered fully electrically, as a plug-in hybrid or with a combustion engine. With these prerequisites in place, the company is in an ideal position to meet demand in each relevant market segment and offer its customers a genuine power of choice between the various drive types. By 2021, demand for electrified vehicles is predicted to double compared to 2019. The BMW Group then expects to see a steep growth curve up to 2025, with sales of electrified vehicles growing on average by more than 30 per cent p.a.
High upfront expenditure for future mobility
In paving the way for the future of mobility, a substantial level of upfront expenditure was again required during the period under report. Research and development expenses for the year 2019 in accordance with IFRS totalled € 5,952 million, significantly up on the previous year (2018: € 5,320 million; +11.9%). The growing proportion of electrified vehicles is also driving up manufacturing costs. Exchange rate factors and rising prices for raw materials also put downward pressure on earnings. Capital expenditure for property, plant and equipment and other intangible assets increased by 12.3% to € 5,650 million year-on-year (2018: € 5,029 million) due to the first-time application of IFRS 16. Investment was made mainly in connection with continuing the new model initiative as well as the modernisation and flexibilisation of existing plant structures.
Greater financial strength through Performance > NEXT
To compensate for the high upfront expenditure on future-oriented technologies, the BMW Group remains committed to improving efficiency continually as part of the Performance > NEXT programme launched in 2017.
“Upfront expenditure in the technologies of the future such as e-mobility needs to be financed. That is why we continue to work with strong determination on those matters that lie in our own hands and maintain a clear focus on performance and efficiency,” said Nicolas Peter, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Finance. "By optimising our core business, we are systematically ensuring greater financial strength and performance. We are growing in the right segments, and therefore generating the funds needed to ramp up our sustainable mobility strategy.”
A key aspect in this endeavour is to develop even faster digital processes and leaner structures. The Performance > NEXT programme is expected to generate efficiency savings in excess of 12 billion euros by the end of 2022. Among other things, development times for new vehicle models will be reduced by as much as one third. On the product side, up to 50 per cent of traditional drivetrain variants will be eliminated from 2021 onwards in the transition to creating enhanced, intelligent vehicle architectures – in favour of additional electrified drivetrains. It is in this area that the full impact of these measures will come into effect, particularly in the years after 2022.
Moreover, the model portfolio is regularly assessed with a view to finding additional potential ways of reducing complexity. Potential for greater synergy and efficiency in indirect purchasing as well as in terms of material and production costs is also being leveraged throughout the Group. The BMW Group is also strengthening performance with an array of new models – especially in segments where the rates of return are highest. One of the Group's targets is to double its sales volume in the luxury segment from 2018 to 2020.
Steady improvement in profitability and EBIT in financial year 2019
The BMW Group’s profitability and profit before financial result improved from quarter to quarter over the course of 2019. The first quarter was impacted by the recognition of a provision for € 1.4 billion following the receipt of a Statement of Objections from the EU Commission in connection with ongoing antitrust proceedings. Group profit before tax for the second half of 2019 then grew significantly year-on-year (€ 4.3 billion; +18.8%).
Fourth quarter deliveries of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce premium brand vehicles stood at 665,8031 units and thus increased slightly compared to the previous year (2018: 656,8231 units; +1,4%1). Group revenues rose significantly to € 29,366 million (2018: € 24,482 million; +19.9%) on the back of positive mix effects arising from the significantly higher proportion of vehicles from the upper luxury segment. The figure is the highest amount of revenues ever recorded by the BMW Group in a single quarter and underlines the attractiveness of the current product portfolio. Profit before financial result also improved significantly to € 2,332 million (2018: € 1,765 million; +32.1%), while profit before tax amounted to € 2,055 million (2018: € 1,800 million; +14.2%). The pre-tax return on sales (EBT margin) came in at 7.0% (2018: 7.4%).
In 2019, deliveries increased by 2.2%1 to a new record of 2,538,3671 units (2018: 2,483,2921 units). At € 104,210 million, Group revenues exceeded the 100 billion euro mark for the first time (2018: € 96,855 million; +7.6%). Influenced by the above-mentioned provision recognised in the first quarter as well as by high levels of upfront expenditure for research and development, profit before financial result for the financial year 2019 finished at € 7,411 million (2018: € 8,933 million; -17.0%). As expected, headwinds also came from negative developments in currencies and raw materials prices.
In addition, as previously reported, positive valuation effects recorded in 2018 were not repeated in 2019 and contributed to a significant decline in the Group’s financial result. Profit before tax finished accordingly at € 7,118 million (2018: € 9,627 million; -26.1%). The pre-tax return on sales (EBT margin) was 6.8% (2018: 9.9%). Net profit amounted to € 5,022 million (2018: € 7,064 million; -28.9%).
Based on the annual financial statements of BMW AG, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board will propose at the Annual General Meeting on 14 May 2020 payment of a dividend of € 2.50 per share of common stock and € 2.52 per share of preferred stock, leading to a dividend payout ratio of 32.8% (2018: 32.0%) of net profit. The total dividend payment would be approximately € 1.65 billion. "The trust of our investors has always been a high priority for us," said Peter. "We want them to participate in the success of the company, just like our employees are able to."
Free cash flow at solid level despite higher capital expenditure
Automotive segment revenues in the fourth quarter 2019 increased to € 26,829 million (2018: € 23,217 million; +15.6%) as a result of the positive mix effects described above. Profit before financial result also improved significantly to € 1,825 million (2018: € 1,452 million; +25.7%). The EBIT margin therefore improved both year-on-year and compared to the third quarter and amounted to 6.8% (2018: 6.3%).
Segment revenues for the full year 2019 climbed to € 91,682 million (2018: € 85,846 million; +6.8%). Influenced by the above-mentioned provision recognised in the first quarter as well as by high levels of upfront expenditure for research and development, profit before financial result amounted to € 4,499 million (2018: € 6,182 million; -27.2%). The EBIT margin came in at 4.9% (2018: 7.2%). Excluding the above-mentioned provision, the EBIT margin was 6.4%. Profit before tax amounted to € 4,467 million (2018: € 6,977 million; -36.0%). Despite higher capital expenditure and lower net profit, the segment generated a free cash flow of € 2,567 million (2018: € 2,713 million; ‑5.4%).
In total, 2,185,7931 BMW brand vehicles were delivered to customers worldwide in 2019 (2018: 2,114,9631 units; +3.3%1). Growth was particularly strong in the upper luxury segment, with volumes up by around 75%1 overall to more than 100,0001 units, thanks to new models such as the 8 Series. Deliveries of the all-electric BMW i3 rose by 13%1 to nearly 40,0001 units.
Focusing on profitable sales growth in an extremely competitive market segment, deliveries of MINI vehicles in 2019 totalled 347,4741 units (2018: 364,1351 units; -4.6%1). The plug-in hybrid MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4* was particularly popular, with deliveries up by around 28%1 to almost 17,0001 units.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars recorded the best volume performance in the marque's 116-year history with 5,1001 units delivered worldwide (2018: 4,1941 units; +21.6%1). Growth was achieved in all regions, with North America standing out again as the most important market. The past year saw exceptional demand worldwide for the Cullinan and Black Badge models.
At 1,083,6691 units, deliveries of the BMW Group in Europe exceeded the one-million mark for the fifth consecutive year, even though the figure was slightly down on the previous year's high level (1,097,1171 units; -1.2%1). In contrast, deliveries in the USA went up to 375,7511 units (2018: 355,3731 units; +5.7%1). The biggest growth driver was China, where deliveries increased significantly to 724,7331 units (2018: 635,8131 units; +14.0%1).
Motorcycles segment achieves targets for year
As predicted, BMW Motorrad recorded solid growth in 2019, with a total 175,162 BMW motorcycles and maxi-scooters delivered to customers (2018: 165,566 units; +5.8%). Segment revenues increased to € 2,368 million (2018: € 2,173 million; +9.0%). Profit before financial result improved to € 194 million (2018: € 175 million; +10.9%). The EBIT margin for the segment finished at 8.2% (2018: 8.1%) and therefore within the target range of 8 to 10%. Profit before tax amounted to € 187 million (2018: € 169 million; +10.7%).
Financial Services segment continues positive performance
The Financial Services segment continued to perform well in 2019. In total, 2,003,782 new contracts were signed with retail customers in 2019 (2018: 1,908,640; +5.0%). The contract portfolio with retail customers comprised 5,973,682 contracts at the end of the reporting period (31 December 2018: 5,708,032 contracts; +4.7%). Segment revenues totalled € 29,598 million (2018: € 27,705 million; +6.8%). Profit before tax amounted to € 2,272 million (2018: € 2,143 million; +6.0%).
Workforce size at previous year’s level
As forecast, the BMW Group’s workforce at 31 December comprised 133,778 employees, similar to the level one year earlier (2018: 134,682 employees; ‑0.7%). In particular, the Group continues to recruit skilled workers and IT specialists in future-oriented fields such as software development, digitalisation, autonomous driving and e-mobility, as well as for its international production network.
From the beginning of the financial year 2020, the key performance indicator for the workforce size will be based solely on the number of core and temporary employees. This change is in line with a reorganisation of internal management, which focuses on these employee groups. Employee groups such as apprentices, students gaining work experience and doctoral students will not be included in this key performance indicator in future, as they primarily serve to promote the training of young people and to secure the next generation of employees. Based on the new reporting methodology, the workforce comprised 126,016 employees at 31 December 2019.
The Supervisory Board will propose to the Annual General Meeting on 14 May 2020 that Dr.-Ing. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Company's Supervisory Board, be re-elected and that Anke Schäferkordt, supervisory board expert, be elected for the first time. In the event of his re-election, Dr.-Ing. Reithofer has expressed his willingness to stand again for the position of Chairman of the Supervisory Board. In agreement with the Supervisory Board, Prof. Renate Köcher relinquished her mandate early with effect from the end of the 2020 Annual General Meeting. The Supervisory Board would like to thank Prof. Köcher for her steadfast cooperation and valuable work during her tenure on the Supervisory Board since 2008.
The special fascination of the BMW Group not only lies in its products and technology, but also in the company’s history, written by inventors, pioneers and brilliant designers. Today, the BMW Group, with its 30 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries as well as a global sales network, is the world’s leading manufacturer of premium automobiles and motorcycles, and provider of premium financial and mobility services.