Volvo group announces record sales for 2011

Volvo Group, the world’s second-largest truck maker, announced Friday a 63-percent jump in its 2011 net profit boosted by record sales and margins, and a 43-percent hike in the fourth quarter.

“If we review the full-year 2011, the Volvo Group generated the highest net sales, the best operating income and the highest operating margin to date,” chief executive Olof Persson said in a statement.

For the full-year, the group’s net profit rose 63 percent to 17.75 billion kronor (2.0 billion euros, $2.65 billion), and by 43 percent in the final quarter to 4.72 billion kronor.

Sales rose 18 percent to 310.3 billion kronor last year, and increased by the same amount to 86.5 billion in the fourth quarter alone.

The quarterly profit and sales figures beat the expectations of analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires, who had forecast 4.67 billion kronor and
81.05 billion kronor respectively.

“The improved results were primarily due to higher sales,” Persson said.

“The group is financially strong in an environment that is currently characterised by turmoil in the financial markets and uncertain macro-economic trends,” he added.

The group’s full-year sales were mainly driven by a 21-percent rise in
truck sales to 200.7 billion kronor and a 22-percent rise in bus sales to 22.2
billion kronor.

Volvo posted its biggest ever increase in truck sales on the North American market, which were up by 75 percent in terms of volume and by 38 percent in terms of value for the full-year.

The overall truck market in North America, for all brands, rose 52 percent last year with 216,000 units sold. The strong demand was attributed to the need to replace ageing fleets, the group said.

Worldwide, Volvo sold some 238,391 trucks in 2011, up 32 percent over 2010.

In Europe, Volvo said it expected a slow recovery in early 2012 with a gradual pick-up in demand as customers start to renew their fleets ahead of new emissions regulations in 2014.

The group said its outlooks for North America and Europe remained unchanged
for 2012.

Volvo shares were up 1.71 percent in midday trading on a Stockholm exchange
up just 0.58 percent.

At the end of December, the Volvo group had 98,162 employees, compared to
90,409 a year ago.

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