Nissan's Finances Still in the Toilet
Fulfilling earlier promises that the company had hit a wall and might require several years to recover, Nissan reported a 70-percent decline in quarterly operating profit on Tuesday. It also pulled back its full-year operating profit forecast by 35 percent to 150 billion yen, representing the automaker’s worst annual performance in 11 years. The business now expects to see global retail volume somewhere around 5.2 million vehicles (down from estimates 5.5 million).
“We are revisiting all our assumptions, and as you can see that is why we revised down our forecast for sales volume for the full year,” incoming CFO Stephen Ma explained to Reuters after releasing its first-half results for 2019 (ending September 30th). That was swiftly followed by the announcement of an extraordinary shareholders meeting to decide on proposals for current directors leaving their positions ( Hiroto Saikawa, Yasuhiro Yamauchi, Thierry Bolloré) and the new director nominees.
Nissan shares, down 19 [percent] this year, closed up 1 [percent] at 714.5 yen before the results announcement.
Operating profit at Japan’s second-biggest automaker by sales came in at 30 billion yen ($275 million) in July-September versus 101.2 billion yen a year earlier.
That compared with a mean forecast of 47.48 billion yen from nine analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv. Nissan announced an interim dividend of 10 yen per share, down from 28.50 yen a year ago.
The company’s global vehicle sales fell 7.5 [percent] to 1.27 million in the quarter. Sales in China, its biggest market, fell 2.5 [percent], while those in the United States fell 4.5 [percent].
“Our sales in China outpaced the market, but sales in other key regions, including the U.S., Europe, and Japan underperformed,” Stephen Ma, a corporate vice president who will become chief financial officer next month, told reporters.
Years of heavy discounting, aimed at improving sales volume, is typically the answer given for why Nissan is performing so poorly. But the automaker also said the yen strengthened more than anticipated in earlier forecasts, coupled with worries about economic uncertainties surrounding the trade war, the cost of developing/manufacturing new-energy vehicles, and the probable downturn of several markets. It also had to cope with some, ahem, quality control issues and regulatory compliance expenses.
The shareholder meeting, scheduled to take place in February after Makoto Uchida replaces Hiroto Saikawa as CEO, to vote on a proposals for members of the new executive team to become company directors. The change is seen largely as a way to breathe new life into corporate management while distancing the company from executives with any ties to ousted Renault-Nissan Alliance Chairman Carlos Ghosn.
[Image: By Anton Watman/Shutterstock]
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