Volkswagen keeps outlook, says Porsche IPO on track

By Victoria Waldersee

BERLIN (Reuters) -Volkswagen said it expected to reach the upper end of its 7%-8.5% operating margin goal for the year on Thursday, as supply chain bottlenecks in items from wire harnesses to chips eased, and confirmed plans to list its Porsche brand this year.

The carmaker, which saw deliveries drop a fifth in the first half, still expected them to rise overall by 5% to 10% this year but likely on the lower end of that range, chief financial officer Arno Antlitz said.

Volkswagen shares rose 2% in early Frankfurt trade following its second quarter results, as the carmaker said it was confident output would increase in the second half.

Antlitz also said that work on a listing of the sports luxury brand Porsche continued “with more emphasis than before”, after last Friday’s leadership change at the carmaker raised questions about the plans.

As production problems hampered output in volume segments, premium brands bolstered the carmaker’s finances in the first half, with Audi registering a 51% jump in operating profit and Porsche up 22% while it fell 8% at the Volkswagen brand.

A drop in operating profit to 4.7 billion euros ($4.81 billion) before special items in the second quarter still beat expectations of seven analysts polled by Refinitiv of 4.6 billion euros.

Volkswagen reported an unusually high operating profit of 8.5 billion euros in the first quarter, but said this was largely due to positive effects of commodity hedges and was not cash-effective.

By contrast, the carmaker said the second-quarter result included around 2.4 billion euros in losses from derivatives, mainly due to raw material hedging. “Before these book-value losses, the underlying performance even improved over a good Q1 2022,” it added.

Still, monthly production volumes across the group improved significantly towards the end of the second quarter, it said, particularly as coronavirus restrictions lifted in China.

Antlitz will take on the role of chief operating officer at Volkswagen from Sept. 1 alongside his position as CFO, when a reshuffle at the helm announced last Friday takes effect. That also will replace chief executive Herbert Diess with Porsche boss Oliver Blume.

($1 = 0.9781 euros)

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Rachel More, Miranda Murray, Jon Boyle, Jan Harvey and Tomasz Janowski)