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Ferrari Posts Steady Profit Before Outsider CEO Takes Helm

Ferrari NV maintained stable profitability before the supercar maker installs an executive little known within the auto industry to up the company’s game in electrification and software.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose to 386 million euros ($459 million) during the second quarter, Ferrari said Tuesday, compared with an average analyst estimate of 344 million euros. While revenue was slightly below expectations, the company boosted its annual free cash flow forecast.null

Ferrari has been slow to embrace electrification, and the carmaker’s hesitancy has started to catch up with the performance of its stock after years of outperforming rivals. The company has picked industry outsider Benedetto Vigna as its new CEO to put Ferrari on course for the era of battery technology and digital services. The 52-year-old will join from chipmaker STMicroelectronics NV in September.

Shipments during the period almost doubled from a year ago to 2,685 units, and were almost flat compared to 2019, before coronavirus lockdowns hit. Ferrari fell as much as 3.5%, the steepest intraday drop since June 14, and were 2.9% lower at 1:11 p.m. in Milan trading.

The Italian manufacturer will unveil its first vehicle that runs entirely on batteries in 2025, Chairman John Elkann said earlier this year, lagging Porsche’s popular Taycan that’s has been on the road since 2019. Ferrari will share more details on its plans during a capital markets day next year. It will also start sales of its first-ever SUV, the Purosangue, in 2022 — years after Bentley’s Bentayga and Lamborghini’s Urus.

In June, Ferrari unveiled its second plug-in hybrid, the 819-horsepower 296 GTB, though while many analysts still consider the pace of electrification to be too slow.

Elkann, Ferrari’s chairman, acting CEO and leader of the billionaire Agnelli clan, has a successful history hiring surprise candidates. In 2004, he tapped Sergio Marchionne to join Fiat and Ferrari from SGS SA, a Geneva-based product-testing company. He successfully transformed Fiat and eventually combined it with Chrysler. Louis Camilleri, Ferrari’s former CEO, was also an outsider having previously worked for cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc.

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says

Ferrari reported better-than-expected 2Q Ebitda, yet unchanged earnings guidance and the delay to the much-awaited Capital Markets Day until June 16, 2022 are disappointing, with the brand’s electrification still lagging that of luxury peers. New CEO Benedetto Vigna only starts on Sept. 1, with his initial challenge likely to be managing the tech transition and presenting a much-needed new electrification, digitalization and carbon-neutral strategy that we originally envisaged happening in 1Q22.

— Michael Dean, BI automotive analyst

At STMicro, Vigna led the chipmaker’s division that supplies key sensors used in Apple Inc.’s iPhone and carmakers’ navigation systems, counting the world’s biggest auto supplier Robert Bosch GmbH as a customer. Among his priorities will be balancing the desires of longtime Ferrari fans in awe of roaring combustion engines and a younger clientele keen for industry-leading technologies of the battery age.

Ferrari shares have declined about 3% this year, giving the company a market value of roughly 34 billion euros. The stock is the second-worst performer among carmakers in the Stoxx 600 Automobiles & Parts index this year after ranking at the top each of the last three years.

Source: Bloomberg