Volvo profit falls on chip shortages, Ukraine war

Volvo Cars said chip constraints were gradually improving after the automaker posted a fall in quarterly profit despite strong demand for its vehicles.

First-quarter operating profit fell to 6 billion crowns ($607.4 million) from 8.4 billion a year ago, the company said in a statement on Thursday. EBIT margin was 8.1 percent, down from 12.3 percent during the same period last year.

The difference in the EBIT is because Volvo benefited from two large financial one-offs in the first quarter of 2021 that added 3 billion crowns ($304.7 million) to its books, Volvo CFO Bjorn Annwall told Automotive News Europe.

If those were excluded, the EBIT margin for the first three months of 2022 would have beaten the 2021 figure, he said.

A global shortage of semiconductors forced Volvo to halt production in the first quarter.

The automaker warned that the supply problem was expected to continue in the second quarter.

Annwall said Volvo has seen positive signs, including a more consistent supply of chips, that indicate the shortage will improve in the second half.

“The semiconductor shortage has clearly taken out a lot of volume but the industry has improved its pricing discipline due to the shortage of supply” to help offset the hit, he said in an interview.

That same tactic is being used to lessen the financial hit caused by higher costs for raw materials, energy and freight for Volvo, Annwall said.

Volvo, majority owned by China’s Geely Holding, maintained its forecast for 2022 of marginal year-on-year growth in deliveries.

The company said earlier this month that its car sales fell 20 percent in the first quarter to 148,295 cars.

Volvo had hoped to be on track to build 900,000 cars this year, which would be a volume of about 225,000 a month, but that goal was set before the pandemic, the chip shortage and the war in Ukraine.

Annwall said Volvo continues to target selling 1.2 million cars a year by 2025.

Volvo in February suspended all sales, service and production in Russia, which last year accounted for about 3 percent of its net group sales.

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