BMW eyes upper end of 2020 margin target for automotive division - CFO

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MUNICH (Reuters) - German luxury carmaker BMW expects the operating profit margin at its automotive segment to come in at the upper end of its guidance in 2020, finance chief Nicolas Peter said, adding that business had recovered faster than expected.

The group now expects the segment’s margin on earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to come in at 2%-3%, having previously expected 0%-3%, Peter said.

“The year has developed better than expected,” Peter told journalists on Wednesday, adding volumes were now expected to decline by around 10%, compared with a forecast of at least 10% earlier. Volumes will rise in 2021, Peter said.

“We’ve also got a real pickup in order intake,” he said, adding the group was preparing for a strong first quarter in Asia, including China.

The group last month said Chinese demand for luxury cars had helped third-quarter profits rise nearly 10%, though it warned a new wave of coronavirus infections sweeping Europe and the United States posed a “considerable” risk to business.

“We can see it in our order intake, but it’s definitely not of the same magnitude we saw in spring.”

Reporting by Joern Poltz; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Jan Harvey