Renault sees signs of turnaround after record $9.7 billion loss

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of carmaker Renault is pictured at a dealership in France

PARIS (Reuters) – Renault (PA:) said on Friday that margins and sales had begun to recover in the second half of 2020 as it embarks on a turnaround plan, though the COVID-19 pandemic dragged the French carmaker to an 8 billion euro ($9.68 billion) loss last year.

New Chief Executive Luca de Meo, who took over in July, is looking at ways to boost profitability and sales at Renault while pushing ahead with cost cuts.

The group was already loss-making in 2019, to the tune of 141 million euros, and it took a sharp hit in 2020 as production faltered and dealerships closed during lockdowns to fight the pandemic, which also hurt its Japanese partner Nissan.

Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected a 7.4 billion euro loss for 2020.

Renault has begun to raise prices on some car models, and group operating profit, which was negative for 2020 as a whole, improved in the last six months of the year, reaching 866 million euros, or 3.5% of revenue.

Sales were still falling in the second half, but less sharply.

($1 = 0.8269 euros)

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