Jaguar Land Rover Automotive plc today reported financial results for the three-month period ending 31 December 2019.
Revenues increased to £6.4 billion, up 2.8% year-on-year. While total retail sales fell 2.3%, sales in China continued to recover (up 24.3%) and sales in North America increased by 1.1%. Product mix was stronger, with global sales of the new Range Rover Evoque luxury compact SUV up 30.0% and the refreshed land Rover Discovery Sport rising 9.2%. Retails of the Range Rover Sport and Land Rover Discovery also grew year-on-year.
Pre-tax profit increased to £318 million in the quarter, representing a £591 million year-on-year improvement versus the £273 million loss in the third quarter of last year (before an exceptional non-cash asset impairment of £3.1 billion in Q3 of the prior year).
The improvement reflected a combination of the higher China volume, stronger product mix, lower operating costs (including Project Charge) and favourable foreign exchange. Margins also turned positive year-on-year with an EBIT margin of 3.3% and an EBITDA margin of 10.8%.
The company’s Project Charge transformation programme reduced operating costs by £154 million, investment by £200 million, and inventories by £405m in the quarter. This brings the total cost and cash flow improvements to £2.9 billion, exceeding the £2.5 billion target three months ahead of schedule. The company has now embarked on ‘Project Charge +’, the next phase of Project Charge, which will primarily target cost savings and deliver a further £1.1 billion of cost and cash flow improvements for a total of £4 billion of improvements by March 2021.
In the third quarter, Jaguar Land Rover sustained year-on-year revenue and profit growth as we continued to transform our business. Conditions in the automotive industry remain challenging but we are encouraged by the recovery in our China business and the success of the new Range Rover Evoque. Our proactive and decisive actions are creating a more robust, resilient business, transforming today for tomorrow. says Prof Sir Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer.
Free cash flow was negative £144 million, up £217 million year-on-year, reflecting the improved profitability and lower investment spending. The latter decreased by £128 million to £892 million for the period.
In addition, the Company raised £1.6 billion of new funding in the quarter, including €1 billion of five and seven-year bonds and a £625 million five-year amortising loan backed by a £500 million guarantee from UK Export Finance (UKEF).
At the end of the period, Jaguar Land Rover had cash of £3.9 billion and a £1.9 billion undrawn credit facility, resulting in £5.8 billion of liquidity.
The new Land Rover Defender, which has been completely reinvented for the digital age, was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Deliveries of the world’s most iconic 4X4 are expected to start in the spring. As part of the company’s continuing product offensive, the new Jaguar F-TYPE was unveiled in December, generating a very positive customer and media reaction to the two-seat sports car that embodies Jaguar’s design DNA. In addition, the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE won the coveted Golden Steering Award for Best Mid-Size SUV in November.
Despite the many challenges presently facing the industry, Jaguar Land Rover has continued to expect improved profitability and cash flow for the financial year ending 31 March 2020 with an EBIT margin of around 3%, however, the developing situation with the coronavirus could have some impact on this.
Our improving financial results and the cost and cash flow achievements of Project Charge will support the next phase of our pipeline of exciting new vehicles and technologies, with a choice of outstanding electrified, petrol and diesel powertrains. This combined success is enabling us to lay the foundations for long-term growth as we move purposefully towards Destination Zero – our mission to shape future mobility with zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion says Prof Sir Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer.