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BMW optimistic despite dip in 2009 profits

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BMW optimistic despite dip in 2009 profits
Photo: DPA
12:24 CET+01:00
German luxury car maker BMW on Thursday reported a 36.4 percent drop in 2009 net profit but also issued an upbeat 2010 forecast.

BMW said its 2009 profit had fallen to €210 million as boss Norbert Reithofer updated provisional figures.

A company statement added however that sales by the world's leading luxury auto manufacturer were expected to increase this year by 50,000 vehicles to 1.3 million.

Although the global economic crisis sent unit sales plunging by 12.6 percent last year, BMW fared better than rival Daimler, because the maker of Mercedes Benz cars posted a 2009 loss of €2.6 billion.

"We are prudently optimistic for the current year," Reithofer said in the statement.

The company said its 2009 dividend would remain unchanged at €0.30 per ordinary share.

They initially leapt by three percent on the Frankfurt stock exchange on the news but then fell back to show a slight gain of 0.09 percent to €32.30 in midday trading, while the DAX index of German blue-chips was flat overall.

In January, the group had already said that sales slipped last year by 4.7 percent to €50.68 billion.

Final results are to be published on March 17.

BMW's auto division was hit hardest in 2009 as auto scrapping premiums worldwide pushed buyers towards smaller, cheaper models but is poised to rebound this year.

The company is placing hopes in a new Series 5 sedan due to hit showrooms later this month, and expects stronger results in emerging markets like China.

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