In the first quarter of 2018 the Piaggio Group reported an improvement in performance “with significant progress on all the main earnings indicators and a reduction in debt”.
Total worldwide vehicle shipments of all kinds (PTWs, commercial and industrial vehicles) were + 7 percent (129,700 vehicles).
Group consolidated net sales totalled 312.3 million euro, an improvement of +1% (+6.7 percent when adjusted for exchange rate changes). The industrial gross margin was 96.7 million euro, up by +1.6; the return on net sales was 31%. At 31 March 2018, the Piaggio Group posted profit before tax of 7 million euro, a strong increase from 2.5 million euro in the first quarter of 2017; net profit was 4 million euro (up from 1,5 million).
In two-wheeler terms, Piaggio sold 80,600 two-wheelers worldwide (82,500 in Q1 2017), generating net sales of 210.1 million euro (218.9 million euro in the year-earlier period). The figure includes spares and accessories of 29.5 million euro). PTW sales were +36.4 percent in India and +11 in Asia Pacific, offsetting the -15.9 percent decline in EMEA and the Americas, which Piaggio says was largely due to the weather in Europe and the downturn in demand for 50cc vehicles.
‘80,600 PTWs sold worldwide’
In Europe Piaggio says it again consolidated its leadership of the scooter market with a share of +23.6%; the company says it “retained a particularly strong presence on the North American scooter market” where its share reached 24.7%, and that it is already taking action to strengthen its position in terms of motorcycle sales in the region.
Piaggio says that the main highlight of its scooter sales “was the excellent performance of the Vespa brand, which boosted worldwide sales by about +13%, with a particularly positive contribution from the Indian market, where sales volumes rose by more than +70%.
|Piaggio has opened its 300th ‘Motoplex’ multi-brand store, in Hong Kong|
“In the Group motorcycle business, important results were achieved by the Aprilia brand, with a +30.6% increase in sales, and a notably positive response to the naked Tuono models and the SX 50. Moto Guzzi turnover was assisted by the positive sales performance of the V7 models, with worldwide growth of approximately +18%.
Commercial vehicle sales were +26.7 percent at 49,200 units for net sales of 102.2 million euro (+13.3%).
Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF), the Piaggio Group company based in Boston, recently enhanced its Advisory Board, hiring Daniela Rus, Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at the MIT in Boston.
‘ratings agencies upgrade Piaggio’
Development work continued on its Gita and Kilo autonomous smart vehicle concepts with road tests conducted in Venice Beach, Los Angeles. In January Piaggio announced the opening of its 300th ‘Motoplex’ multi-brand store in Hong Kong. In February the company gave its new Aprilia SR 125 and Aprilia Storm 125 their debut in the Indian market.
In March the Moody’s Investors Service rating agency announced that it had upgraded its Outlook for the Piaggio Group from “stable” to “positive”, and confirmed the company's B1 ratings. In April Standard & Poor's Global Ratings announced its upgrade of the Piaggio Group rating from “B+” to “BB-” and confirmed its Outlook as “stable”. Also, in April, Piaggio successfully completed placement of a 7-year 250-million-euro non-convertible, unsecured senior bond (paying annual interest of 3.625%) to refinance bonds of the same amount maturing in 2021.
|S&P and Moody’s have upgraded Piaggio’s ratings and risk status|
Piaggio has launched a partnership to market the Ape in Egypt - part of its plan to strengthen and expand its position on the fastest growing markets. With light commercial vehicle shipments of around 70,000 in 2017, Egypt is the world’s second export market for three-wheeled vehicles (after Nigeria) with volumes rising +50% since 2010.