April 25, 2019 / 5:33 AM / 7 months ago

PSA revenue hit by overseas decline, Iran withdrawal

PARIS (Reuters) - Peugeot maker PSA Group reported a 1.1 percent decline in first-quarter revenue, as a sales decline outside Europe and currency challenges outweighed pricing improvements.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French car manufacturer Peugeot is seen at a dealership of the company in Selestat, France, January 14, 2019.REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

The French carmaker’s shares fell on Thursday after it said revenue dropped to 17.98 billion euros ($20.05 billion) in the January-March quarter from 18.2 billion a year earlier.

PSA “remains fully focused” on its medium-term performance plan while pursuing the integration of the Opel-Vauxhall business acquired from General Motors in 2017, Chief Financial Officer Philippe de Rovira said.

While the Opel deal has bolstered PSA’s European position, overseas sales have suffered from a sustained collapse at its Chinese joint ventures and have been compounded by the carmaker’s withdrawal from Iran last year.

Revenue at the core automotive division fell 1.8 percent to 14.16 billion euros, as vehicle sales by Opel to its former parent tailed off.

Exchange-rate setbacks also weighed on revenue to overcome a 3.6 percent boost from improved pricing and mix, which reflects a sales shift to plusher models.

Those metrics, driven by PSA’s performance in Europe, bode well for its future earnings, some analysts said.

“Investors might be willing to look through the weak headline figure, given how key mix is for profitability,” Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said in a note to clients.

The carmaker’s shares nonetheless fell in early trading, and were 1.9 percent lower at 23.82 euros as of 0725 GMT, paring their 30 percent gain this year.

Global sales volumes fell 15.7 percent to 886,400 vehicles in the quarter. Excluding Iran, deliveries fell 6.1 percent, weighed down by a 30 percent decline in Latin America.

Overall revenue was broadly in line with analyst estimates in an Infront Data poll, and PSA reiterated its medium-term guidance for an average 4.5 percent automotive operating margin over the 2019-2021 period.

The company said it now expects the Latin American auto market to shrink 2 percent in 2019. PSA saw the European market as being stable, while it saw China falling by 3 percent and Russia growing 5 percent.

PSA plans to discontinue Opel’s Adam, Karl and Cascada models to help meet tightening carbon dioxide emissions regulations, added De Rovira.

Reporting by Laurence Frost and Gilles Guillaume; editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Jason Neely

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