PSA Peugeot Citroen drives to record profits in 2017


Paris (AFP)

French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen said Thursday that its profits raced to new records in 2017 even if its newly-acquired Opel and Vauxhall brands weighed on earnings.

PSA Peugeot Citroen notched up "outstanding results, making significant progress for the fourth year in a row," said chief executive Carlos Tavares.

The numbers were "proof of our ability to deliver a profitable and sustainable growth. The acquisition of Opel Vauxhall is a great opportunity to boost value creation," he said.

The group said in a statement that its net profit rose by 11.5 percent to a record 1.929 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in 2017.

Underlying or operating profit was up 23 percent at 3.991 billion euros and sales grew by 20.7 percent to 65.2 billion euros, the statement said.

While the acquisition of Opel boosted revenues, the loss-making German carmaker -- acquired last year from General Motors -- weighed on profitability, as it booked an operating loss of 179 million euros.

"The PSA group achieved record results in 2017, with a record number of vehicle sales at 3.63 million units and a record level of revenues," finance chief Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon said in a telephone news conference.

He said that the group had also started well into the new year, with the number of new registrations of PSA's Peugeot, Citreon and DS brands jumping 22 percent in February, outpacing overall market growth of four percent.

PSA said it will pay an increased dividend of 0.53 euros per share for 2017, compared with 0.48 euros for 2016.