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Ferrari revs up for higher profits

By Stephen Corby, 03 May 2016 Industry

Ferrari revs up for higher profits

Ferrari's split from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn't hurting the high-end sportscar brand's ability to print money

IT MAY not be a shock to hear that Ferrari makes a lot of money out of selling cars, but the recently announced jump in profit, and sales, suggests that a lot of other people around the world, and in Australia, must be rolling in cash as well.

Ferrari, which was recently hived off from the Fiat Chrysler group and floated on the stock exchange, in an attempt to follow the big-bucks backing for other luxury brands like Prada and Hermes, has just announced its strongest-ever first quarter earnings.

The company’s increased profit – up to €675 million ($A1.03 billion) from €621 million for the same period last year – came on the back of increased sales, with the number of Ferraris sold up 15% year on year to 1882, from 1635.

You don’t need much mathematical knowledge to work out that the profit per car that the world’s most famous marque makes (the prancing horse brand is right up there with Coke, McDonald’s and Apple in terms of global recognition) is significantly higher than that of most other brands.

Sales were up in all regions, thanks to the launch of some spectacular models such as the Ferrari 488 GTB, 488 Spider and F12 tdf, including in Australia, which experienced a handy 14 percent growth. The queue to get any 488 model locally already stretches to two years.

In the US, which makes up almost a third of all Ferrari shipments, sales were up a less spectacular 2 percent, but in its most loyal market, Italy, they rose a dizzying 75 percent, just ahead of speed-loving Germany, at 74 percent.

Vitally, sales of the 488 GTB also saw the number of Ferraris shifted rise 67 percent in mainland China, which is surely the company’s biggest hope for the future.

The company also announced that chairman Sergio Marchionne will take over as chief executive officer after Amedeo Felisa's decision to retire.

Company insiders say the move – which mirrors Luca di Montezemolo’s filling of both roles – will make little difference to the company as Marchionne had basically been running the place since becoming chairman.

Some €52 million of Ferrari’s increased profits for the quarter were put down to higher volumes of cars and spare parts, with a matching increase in spending on “personalistaion” (think $22,000 paint jobs and $10,000 racing stripes).

Surprisingly, the F1 racing arm of the Ferrari empire also raked in an extra €9m thanks to increased sponsorship “mainly due to better championship ranking”, according to the company’s quarterly report.

Scuderia Ferrari has achieved four podium finishes so far in 2016, which goes to show you that even trailing around behind Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton can earn you good money in F1.

The branding side of the company also continues to boom, with a new Ferrari Store in Riyadh bringing the number of company run merchandise showrooms to 12, with 26 franchised shops. A new Ferrari theme park, joining the one in Abu Dhabi, has also been announced for an undisclosed location in China.

The positive news saw a slight bump for Ferrari’s shares, which have been struggling since their debut, in October last year. The stock first listed at €43 but fell away and has struggled to hold up since.

Yesterday, the stock was up 0.3 of a percent on the first-quarter announcement, to €39.62.

Ferrari has upgraded its expectations for 2016 on the back of its strong first quarter, and is now tipping it will rake in up to €800 million on the back of total sales of more than 7900 cars.

Whatever the global economy may be doing as a whole, the number of people with the money, and the desire, to buy a Ferrari only seems to be growing.

Buying Ferrari shares, however, might be the cheapest way you can find to own a tiny piece of this hugely successful car company.