Renault posts lower than expected profit, ups cash haul for investors

By Thomson Reuters Feb 14, 2024 | 11:06 AM

By Gilles Guillaume and Nick Carey

(Reuters) – French automaker Renault on Wednesday reported a slightly lower-than-expected full-year 2023 net profit, but posted margin and revenue gains and offered more cash to investors with a huge increase in its dividend.

Renault said that it would propose a dividend of 1.85 euros ($1.98) for 2023, up from a payout of 0.25 euros for 2022, joining U.S. automakers Ford and General Motors in giving more cash to investors.

The stronger cash position and margin growth are the latest sign that the carmaker’s turnaround under chief executive Luca de Meo, is bearing fruit.

To boost sales, Renault shrank its vehicle range and has refocused on its most profitable markets and models.

“The proposed dividend payout illustrates our confidence in our ability to continue to grow,” Renault’s chief financial offer Thierry Pieton told reporters.

Renault posted an operating margin of 7.9%, up from 5.5% in 2022. The company said it expected an operating margin of around 7.5% in 2024.

The results come after Renault reported 9% growth in global sales volumes for 2023 after four consecutive years of declines.

The automaker posted a net profit of 2.315 billion euros ($2.48 billion) versus a loss for 2022 of 716 million euros, which included the automaker’s exit from Russia.

The net profit missed an average estimate of 3.52 billion euros from analysts polled by LSEG.

The consensus did not include a capital loss of around 900 million euros resulting from its disposal of a first chunk of its stake in Nissan.

The French automaker posted revenue for 2023 of 52.38 billion euros versus 46.33 billion euros in 2022. Analysts had expected revenue of 52.88 billion euros.

($1 = 0.9323 euros)

(Reporting By Gilles Guillaume and Nick Carey)