Remarks from Carlos Ghosn, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Global Headquarters, Yokohama
May 13, 2015
Nissan is reporting solid financial results for fiscal year 2014 despite challenging market conditions, particularly in Japan and some emerging markets. Nissan’s Operating Profit and Net Income exceeded our prior guidance and the comparable year-ago levels. The company generated significant Automotive Free Cash Flow and our Balance Sheet strengthened.
For the 12-month period ending March 31st 2015, Nissan generated consolidated net revenues of 11.38 trillion yen and operating profit of 589.6 billion yen. This equates to an operating profit margin of 5.2%.
Net income rose 17.6% to 457.6 billion yen. We generated automotive free cash flow of 365.8 billion yen. And Nissan ended the period with net cash of 1.39 trillion yen from its automotive operations.
Our company is growing steadily and is well positioned with respect to the goals of our Power 88 mid-term strategic business plan.
FY14 SALES PERFORMANCE
During the 12 months ending March 31st, global total industry volumes – or TIV – reached 85.36 million units, an increase of 2.7%.
Nissan performed in line with the industry, with sales rising to 5.32 million units, up from 5.19 million in the previous fiscal year. Nissan’s global market share was stable at 6.2%.
Looking at our key markets in detail…
In Japan, TIV fell by 6.9% to 5.3 million units.
Nissan saw unit sales decline by 13.3% to 623,000, resulting in a market share of 11.8%. Although conditions remain challenging, we have been encouraged by consumer reaction to our products including the X-Trail and DAYZ ROOX.
In China, where our sales performance is measured on a calendar-year basis, TIV was up 7.6% to 22.34 million units. Nissan unit sales were flat at 1.22 million units, equivalent to market share of 5.5%.
Japanese brands continued to face challenges in the world’s largest automotive market, where all manufacturers offering light commercial vehicles also saw sales drop due to the impact of new emission regulations.
However, Nissan continues to be the number-one Japanese brand in China. This reflects strong sales of models such as the Sylphy series and X-Trail, which was named 2014 “Car of the Year” in China.
In North America, Nissan achieved record sales.
TIV in the U.S. was up 6.9% at 16.73 million units. Nissan’s sales rose by 8.9% to 1.4 million units, equivalent to a market share of 8.4%. Our core models, Altima, Rogue and Sentra, drove this strong performance.
In Canada, Nissan also outperformed the market as unit sales jumped 22.4% to 118,000, equivalent to a market share of 6.3%.
In Mexico, Nissan maintained its number-one position with unit sales of 310,000 up 16.9%, equivalent to a market share of 26.1%.
TIV in Europe grew by 1.7%.
Nissan sales rose by 11.7% to 755,000 units, achieving our best-ever market share of 4.3%. This performance was driven by demand for products such as Qashqai and Juke, which established our leadership in the crossover segment.
In Russia, Nissan’s sales increased by more than 5% to 173,000 units, despite a market decline of 18% [in fiscal year 2014]. Our market share rose to 7.6%.
In other markets, TIV fell by an estimated 2.6% to 20.15 million units.
Nissan’s sales in the other markets rose by 1.1% to 889,000 units. Among these markets, sales in the Middle East rose 4.7% to 237,000 units. Sales in Asia and Oceania remained flat at 363,000 units, while sales in Latin America decreased 1.2% to 184,000 units.
FY14 Consolidated Financial Performance
Nissan is presenting its financial performance under the equity accounting method for our joint venture in China.
On this basis:
- Consolidated net revenues increased by 892.7 billion yen to 11.38 trillion yen.
- This increase was driven primarily by higher unit sales and currency translation benefits on overseas revenue from the normalization of the yen.
- Consolidated operating profit reached 589.6 billion yen, yielding a 5.2% operating margin.
- Net income was 457.6 billion yen, up 17.6% from fiscal year 2013.
Looking at operating profit movements in detail:
- The 68.6 billion yen positive impact from foreign exchange rates came mainly from the correction of the yen against the U.S. dollar.
- Cost items resulted in net savings of 112.7 billion yen, as purchasing material cost-reduction efforts were only partially offset by cost increases due to product enrichment and raw materials.
- Volume and mix resulted in a net positive impact of 32.4 billion yen.
- The increase in marketing and selling expenses resulted in a 43.8 billion yen negative impact.
- US re-marketing performance deteriorated by 39.5 billion yen.
- R&D expenses increased by 0.1 billion yen.
- Manufacturing expenses rose by 20.1 billion yen, and
- Other items had a negative impact of 19.0 billion yen.
Our net automotive cash position was 1.39 trillion yen, compared with 1 trillion yen at the end of March 2014.
On a management pro forma basis, which includes the proportional consolidation of our Chinese joint venture:
- Net revenues rose to 12.41 trillion yen in fiscal 2014.
- Operating profit increased to 718.6 billion yen.
- Net income rose to 457.6 billion yen.
- Automotive free cash flow was 352.3 billion yen; and
- We ended the period with automotive net cash of 1.52 trillion yen.
The results represent a significant improvement over the pro forma figures from fiscal year 2013.
- Net revenues increased 8.5%.
- Operating profit rose by 18.6%
- Our operating profit margin improved to 5.8%.
- Net income increased 17.6% from the prior year period.
These figures provide a solid base as we follow the path toward our Power 88 goals.
PATH TO NISSAN POWER 88
Nissan is pursuing its global product offensive, which is driving demand and revenues in key markets.
We saw strong demand for core products such as the Qashqai, X-Trail and Rogue -- all based on our Common Module Family architecture.
In total, we launched 10 new models across our brands in fiscal 2014, including the award-winning Murano SUV and Navara pick-up truck.
In fiscal 2015, we will continue our product offensive:
- The all-new Maxima, which began production in the U.S., last month, will be on sale in early summer.
- The Lannia, a new mid-size sedan developed for young Chinese customers, will launch later this year.
- And the all-new Titan pick-up truck will be in U.S. dealer showrooms by the end of the calendar year.
Infiniti, our premium brand, will launch a number of products through the remaining period of the mid-term plan.
In China, where Infiniti was the fastest-growing luxury brand last year, we started production of the Q50L, a long-wheel based version of our popular sedan.
The Infiniti Q30 will make its global debut in Europe later this year and will be an important vehicle in the brand’s line-up. As part of our continuing product offensive during the mid-term plan, Infiniti will also launch vehicles based off two popular concepts at recent auto shows, the Q60 and QX30.
In emerging markets where we have launched the Datsun brand - including Indonesia, India, Russia and South Africa - we expect Datsun sales to contribute significantly to our company’s performance.
In addition to our product offensive, Nissan continues to develop technologies that will help transform mobility for decades to come. There has been much discussion about Autonomous Drive technologies for the future. In fact, the building blocks for Autonomous Drive are already here.
One such innovation is our emergency-brake technology, which will be a standard feature in Japan on our highest volume models by the end of this year. We will expand this offering in China, Europe and the US through next year.
By 2016, we plan to make traffic jam and single lane systems available, to be followed in 2018 by highway and multi-lane driver assistance. By the end of the decade, we plan to offer automated technologies for complex city driving environments and intersection navigation.
Nissan also leads the industry in zero-emission vehicles. The Nissan LEAF is the world’s best-selling mass-volume all-electric vehicle. This year we will pass the milestone of 200,000 unit sales. We have also extended our zero-emission technology to the e-NV200 light commercial vehicle and the Venucia e30 in China.
In addition to such breakthrough vehicles, Nissan is the industry’s leading proponent in the development of a global charging infrastructure.
In the U.S., we are increasing the number of free public charging stations – called "No Charge to Charge". And in Japan, the number of quick-charging stations will reach almost 6,000 units by the middle of fiscal 2015.
Our strategy of launching new products and technologies is augmented by innovative marketing campaigns to enhance Nissan’s brand and sales power.
In fiscal 2014, we increased our brand visibility through major partnerships of such global events, as the UEFA Champions League and the NFL Super Bowl.
This type of marketing effort helps drive improved brand value. As a result, Nissan has continued to climb the influential Interbrand ranking. Last year, Nissan was named the "best global brand for creating and managing brand value".
Nissan has implemented a range of measures to improve its overall competitiveness and quality.
We have achieved and continue to generate significant economies through our Common Module Family, launching a new generation of high-quality and award-winning vehicles. Up to 60% of components will be shared on coming CMF models. By 2020, this high-quality CMF architecture will also be utilized by more than two thirds of all Alliance vehicles.
Quality extends beyond product-excellence. Smooth launches also contribute to the success of new models. Nissan introduced a series of new quality enhancement processes, where we have seen very positive results in our vehicle-launch programs in the U.S.
The CMF strategy is one example of the successful synergies emerging from our Alliance strategy. In fiscal 2014, the Renault Nissan Alliance delivered synergies of 3.8 billion euros.
Additional synergies will follow from the convergence, announced last year, of key functions in engineering, manufacturing and supply chain management, purchasing, and human resources. Our commitment is to achieve synergies of at least 4.3 billion euros by 2016.
FY15 FULL YEAR GUIDANCE
For fiscal year 2015, Nissan expects to grow faster than the industry as a whole.
We anticipate that total industry volumes will increase slightly to 85.44 million units. Our global retail volumes are expected to rise by 4.4% to 5.55 million units. This would equate to a global market share of 6.5%.
TIV is expected to grow in China and Europe. This will be offset by continued strong headwinds in Japan, Russia, and Brazil. Despite TIV headwinds, Nissan sales will increase in all key markets except Japan and Russia.
We expect to deliver profitable growth in 2015, reflecting our ongoing cost and sales discipline, our continuing product offensive and further Alliance synergies.
Nissan has therefore filed the following full-year forecast with the Tokyo Stock Exchange, using a foreign exchange rate assumption of 115 yen to the dollar and 130 yen to the euro for the current fiscal year. Our forecast is based on the equity accounting method for our joint venture in China. We expect net revenues to grow by 6.4% to 12.1 trillion yen for the 12 months ending March 31, 2016. Operating profit is targeted to reach 675 billion yen – representing a margin of 5.6%. Net income is expected to reach 485 billion yen, an increase of 6% from the figures we are reporting today.
To achieve this operating profit figure, we are predicting:
- Negative foreign exchange movements of 40 billion yen;
- A 35 billion yen improvement in marketing and selling activities;
- A 110 billion yen improvement in monozukuri; and
- A negative 19.6 billion yen in other items.
On a management pro forma basis, we are anticipating net revenues will increase by 7% to 13.27 trillion yen for the 12 months ending March 31, 2016. Operating profit is forecasted to reach 835 billion yen and net income is predicted to be 485 billion yen.
Nissan remains committed to a progressive dividend policy, which reflects our profitability and solid free cash flow. Based on our expected fiscal year 2015 performance, we project an increase in the annual dividend by 27% to 42 yen per share.
In conclusion, Nissan has delivered solid financial results for fiscal 2014 despite challenging conditions in several markets.
This performance gives us confidence that Nissan has the underlying financial strength, the right products in the pipeline and the executional focus to deliver on our goals. We are on the right path towards the objectives of our Nissan Power 88 mid-term plan, which include:
- a commitment to achieve a sustainable 8% operating profit by the end of fiscal year 2016; and
- a target of 8% global market share.
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