Assessment of the first quarter of 2022
- Audi delivered 385,000 vehicles in the first three months of the year
- Compared with the prior-year period, revenue increased to €14.3 billion
- Record earnings of €3.9 billion in the first quarter and an operating return on sales of 24.3 percent, partly due to tailwind from commodity hedges
- Good net cash flow of €1.6 billion
- Forecast for the full year 2022 confirmed
Assessment Q1 – three questions for Jürgen Rittersberger
„The Audi Group and its brands Audi, Lamborghini, Ducati and Bentley are resolutely facing up to the current challenges. Important keys to this are group synergies, our fixed cost discipline and our strong brand positioning. The key financial figures for the first quarter confirm our course.”
― Jürgen Rittersberger, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Finance and Legal Affairs
Mr. Rittersberger, how did Audi perform in the first quarter?
The first quarter was essentially a good one for us. Nevertheless, the very volatile macroeconomic and geopolitical situation had a significant influence on our business. Record earnings and higher revenue in the first quarter contrast with lower deliveries. In all, the Premium brand group delivered 390,826 cars, which was a drop of 16 percent.
As a result of supply shortages and renewed Covid-19 lockdowns in China, the consistently high demand for Audi brand cars could not be met in full. Consequently, the brand with the Four Rings delivered 385,084 vehicles to customers, compared with 462,828 in the first quarter of 2021. At the same time, Audi increased deliveries of its battery electric vehicles (BEV) by 66.2 percent to 24,236 vehicles (Q1 2021: 14,583).
How did that affect financial performance?
Thanks to the initial consolidation of the Bentley brand and the continued strong pricing position, the Audi Group grew revenue to €14,282 million, an increase of 1.5 percent compared with the prior-year period (Q1 2021: €14,067 million).
Moreover, the operating profit rose to a new record of €3,468 million. In the first quarter of 2021, it was €1,404 million. The operating return on sales was 24.3 percent (Q1 2021: 10.0 percent).
This considerable rise reflects the good pricing situation and continued fixed-cost discipline. However, the main earnings drivers were measurement effects relating to commodity hedges, especially for nickel and aluminum. These effects amounted to around €1.2 billion in the first quarter. It is positive that, without these one-time effects, the operating return on sales would have been in the double-digit percentage range of our target corridor between 9 and 11 percent.
Net cash flow was €1,638 million in the period from January to March (Q1 2021: €3,085 million), providing further evidence of the Audi Group’s high self-financing capability. Given the present challenges, overall these indicators are a highly respectable performance.
What are your expectations for 2022 as a whole?
In view of the increased transparency about the short-term economic impact of the Ukraine war and the Covid-19 lockdown in China, we are confirming our forecast for the 2022 fiscal year: The brand group expects to deliver between 1.8 and 1.9 million cars and to report revenue of between €62 and €65 billion. The operating return on sales is expected to be between 9 and 11 percent.
Net cash flow will probably be between €4.5 and €5.5 billion. There is continued uncertainty about the long-term effects of the current geopolitical situation, for example, on supply chains, inflation as well as raw material and energy prices, and about how the Covid-19 pandemic will develop in the future. Unfortunately, it is not possible to make any reliable projections for these factors at the present time.