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http://news.yahoo.com/fiat-q1-profits-t ... nance.html
Associated Press, via Yahoo News
April 26, 2012
Fiat Q1 profits triple thanks
By COLLEEN BARRY
MILAN (AP) — Italian carmaker Fiat SpA on Thursday
said first-quarter profits more than tripled thanks to i
ts U.S. partner Chrysler, which posted its best quarter
in 13 years, while sales in Europe plunged.
The automaker, based in the northern Italian city of
Turin, reported net profit of €104 million ($137 million)
for the period ending March 31, up from €29 million a
year earlier, due to strong North American results and despite losses in Europe.
"Given the circumstances in Europe,' we've had an exceptionally strong quarter," CEO Sergio Marchionne
told an analyst conference call. "To tell you we are
satisfied with the performance of the group overall, I
think would be a bit of a stretch."
Fiat's European operations lost €207 million — the only region to post a loss. Fiat's car registrations in the region plunged 26 percent to 81,469 units — far outpacing the market's drop of 6.6 percent in the quarter, according to
the European Automobile Manufacturer's Association. Fiat sells cars under brands including Fiat, Lancia, Chrysler and Alfa Romeo.
Fiat shares closed down 5 percent to €3.73.
Strong sales at Chrysler, which Fiat controls with a
58.5 percent stake, helped boost the group's revenues, which more than doubled to €20 billion from €9 billion
in the first quarter of 2010. Chrysler generated €11.3
billion of that revenue.
"The fact that Chrysler has had a phenomenally strong quarter has undoubtedly come to help," Marchionne
Excluding Chrysler, Fiat's revenues fell 5.7 percent due
to declining European auto sales. Fiat also suffered a
drop in production and deliveries due to a month-long
strike by trailer drivers protesting higher gas prices and government austerity measures. Fiat said the strike
caused a loss of about 20,000 units.
Marchionne conceded that the European market had "underperformed" the company's expectations.
In all, Fiat sold just over 1 million cars in the quarter,
60 percent of those by Chrysler in North America.
Fiat said it maintained its 2012 targets of €77 billion in revenue and net profit of €1.2 billion to €1.5 billion,
despite the absence of any indication that car sales will bounce back in Europe this year.
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