13 Mar 2009

BMW profits down nearly 90%

10:32 am on 13 March 2009

Net profits at BMW fell by almost 90% to 330 million euros ($US423 million) last year, as the global economy weakened and reduced demand for cars.

Earnings were hit by 2.4 billion euros of exceptional costs linked to bad debts, personnel costs and provisions to cover risks on used car markets.

BMW is to cut its dividend by two-thirds to 0.30 euros per share.

Separately, the European Investment Bank made a loan of 400 million euros to BMW as part of a wider industry package.

The EIB approved 3 billion euros in loans to the European auto industry. The money will go to German, Italian, French and Swedish carmakers.

Most of it will be aimed at improving fuel efficiency and cutting carbon emissions.

The bank added that it expected to approve a further 2.8 billion euros in loans to the industry in April and May, which would take its total lending to the sector to 6.3 billion euros since December.

The BBC reports BMW is not the only carmaker to struggle. VW reported on Thursday that sales fell 15% in January and February.

And Saab said that it planned to cut 750 jobs in Sweden.