October 25, 2017 / 5:59 AM / 10 months ago

Peugeot lifts sales on Opel deal, China worsens

PARIS (Reuters) - PSA Group’s (PEUP.PA) quarterly revenue rose by almost a third, the maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars said on Wednesday, as it added Opel-Vauxhall sales numbers for the first time.

Carlos Tavares, Chairman of the Managing Board of French carmaker PSA Group addresses the media during the 87th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The company’s performance was also helped by sales growth in Europe and Latin America in the three months ended Sept. 30, but the carmaker lost more ground in China, where deliveries plunged another 29 percent year-on-year.

PSA’s shares were down 1.1 percent at 20.1 euros at 0911 GMT, slightly underperforming a 0.6 percent slide by the broader Stoxx Europe 600 Autos & Parts sector index <0#.SXAP>.

Group revenue advanced 31 percent to 15 billion euros ($17.6 billion), while combined automotive revenue at the Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands rose 11.6 percent to 8.42 billion.

Under Chief Executive Carlos Tavares PSA has powered to record profitability but stumbled in China, the world’s biggest auto market, where deliveries topped 700,000 cars in 2014. Its sales in the region - mainly through two joint ventures - stood at 242,000 vehicles in the first nine months of the year.

PSA is attempting to sell or lease out its Wuhan 2 factory, one of the group’s five Chinese assembly plants, French daily Les Echos reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources.

Asked about the report, Chief Financial Officer Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon said PSA was determined “to face reality and to adjust costs when needed, and right-size (those) costs”.

PSA will “get back on a growth path” in China and is not considering withdrawal from the market, Chatillon told analysts.

Sales at PSA’s China ventures are not consolidated in its group revenue, which benefited from a healthy 3.9 percent increase in European vehicle deliveries - excluding Opel-Vauxhall - as Latin American sales volumes jumped 17 percent.

PSA raised its 2017 market growth outlook to 7 percent in Latin America and 8 percent in Russia, from a previous 5 percent forecast for both markets, echoing a similar upgrade by Renault (RENA.PA) this week.

For the full year, “based on this third quarter, we think PSA could be on track to beat profit expectations”, Bernstein analyst Max Warburton said, before adding a note of caution. “Opel and its losses and cash-burn will be very important from here,” he said.

New model launches improved the product mix, PSA said, which reflected a demand for pricier vehicles and trims and contributed a 5.4 percent revenue increase in the quarter.

Sales to partners delivered a further 3.7 percent boost as PSA began manufacturing two Opel vehicles under a deal pre-dating its full acquisition of the General Motors (GM.N) brand.

Reporting by Laurence Frost; Additional reporting by Blandine Henault and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Greg Mahlich

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