Fiat cuts 2013 financial targets as LatAm disappoints

Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:56am EDT
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By Bernie Woodall and Jennifer Clark

DETROIT/MILAN (Reuters) - Italian automaker Fiat FIA.MI cut its 2013 financial targets on Wednesday as a third-quarter revenue slump in crucial Latin American markets offset a strong performance at Chrysler, the No.3 U.S. automaker it controls.

Fiat slashed the bottom end of its trading profit forecast to 3.5 billion euros ($4.8 billion) from 4.0 billion euros, saying that its third-quarter earnings took an 80 million euro hit from a weak Brazilian real.

Its trading profit - earnings before interest, tax and one-time items - in Latin America tumbled to 165 million euros in third quarter from 341 million euros a year ago.

Analysts were expecting a poor performance in Brazil, which usually accounts for about a quarter of Fiat's trading profit, because of the strong euro and the end of car sales incentives, but were surprised by the extent of the outlook cut.

They had penciled in a full-year trading profit forecast cut to as low as 3.65 billion euros, according to a consensus published on Fiat's website.

As a result of the deeper-than-expected cut, Fiat's shares plummeted 5.7 percent in Milan after the earnings statement.

Fiat cut revenue guidance for the full year to about 88 billion euros, at the bottom of its previous range. It said it now sees trading profit at between 3.5 billion and 3.8 billion euros - placing the top end of its forecast in line with last year's figure of 3.81 billion euros.

Full-year net profit is now expected in the 900 million-1.2 billion euro range, well below last year's 1.4 billion euros.   Continued...

A sign is shown at the Massey-Yardley Chrysler. Dodge, Jeep and Ram automobile dealership in Plantation, Florida October 8, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Skipper