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Volkswagen’s earnings fell nearly half last year on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but a rebound in premium car sales in China and stronger shipments in the the fourth quarter helped keep the numbers for the world’s largest carmaker in the dark.
The group said on Friday that its operating profit, excluding costs related to its diesel emissions scandal, was 10 billion euros ($12.2 billion), compared to 19.3 billion euros in 2019.
Analysts expected an operating profit of 4.8 billion euros, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon.
Net cash flow in its automotive division was about 6 billion euros and car deliveries were up towards the end of the year, the German group said in a statement.
“The magnitude of the hit is welcome and supports the industry’s impending full year results,” Jefferies analysts wrote in a note.
The performance closes a turbulent 2020 for Volkswagen and the auto industry.
A sales slump fueled by the pandemic led to a loss in the second quarter, before Volkswagen was able to return to profitability in the third thanks to spike in demand for luxury vehicles in China, the world’s largest auto market.
Volkswagen shares hit their 11-month highs after the results were released on Friday. In the afternoon they earned 2.7%, at 166.4 euros.
Major shareholder Porsche Automobil Holding SE, which owns 31.4% of Volkswagen and 53.1% of the group’s voting rights, said it is likely to post fairly positive earnings after tax for 2020 thanks to the performance of Volkswagen.
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