Volkswagen Group achieves solid annual results, significant increase in deliveries expected in 2023
Volkswagen Group delivered a robust performance in 2022 with profitability improving despite ongoing supply disruptions and headwinds from higher raw material and energy costs. This was supported by continued pricing discipline, cost progress, and driven by a stronger mix which helped to increase operating profit before special items by EUR 2.5 billion to EUR 22.5 billion. The Group made significant progress in the execution of its strategy in 2022 in particular with the successful Porsche AG IPO, the launch of the Group’s battery company PowerCo with the ground-breaking of the first cell gigafactory in Salzgitter, the start of production of the all-electric ID.4 in the USA as well as the partnership with Horizon Robotics to further strengthening competitiveness in China.
Overall revenues increased by 11.6 percent to EUR 279.2 billion, supported by sales of better equipped vehicles as well as an improved mix and continued pricing discipline. Deliveries of all-electric vehicles (BEVs) increased significantly, while the total number of vehicles delivered slightly declined by 7 percent because of semiconductor shortages, disruptions in the logistics chain and supply stoppages in China. A total of 572,100 BEVs were delivered to customers, 26 percent more than in the previous year which demonstrates the popularity of the Group’s unique BEV model range. The BEV share of deliveries thus grew to around 7 percent.
Operating profit before special items rose to EUR 22.5 (20.0) billion, corresponding to an operating return on sales before special items of 8.1 (8.0) percent. Profit before tax increased by 9.5 percent to EUR 22 (20.1) billion. Profit after tax increased by 2.6 percent to 15.8 (15.4) billion euros.
Automotive net cash flow amounted to EUR 4.8 billion (EUR 8.6 billion). The deviation is mainly attributable to the unstable supply situation throughout 2022 and disruptions in the logistics chains, particularly at the end of the year. As a result, working capital and in particular inventories of finished goods, raw materials and supplies at the end of the year were significantly higher than planned. This increase in working capital at the end of 2022 is anticipated to be largely reversed during the year 2023.
The net liquidity of the Automotive Division on December 31, 2022 increased to EUR 43 billion, including proceeds of EUR 16.1 billion from the successful IPO of Porsche AG in September 2022. EUR 9.5 billion were paid as special dividend to shareholders in January 2023.
The Board of Management and Supervisory Board are proposing a dividend of EUR 8.70 per ordinary share and EUR 8.76 per preferred share, representing an increase of 1.20 euros per ordinary and preferred share respectively compared to the previous year's figures. This equals to a payout ratio of 29.4 percent. Earnings per ordinary share amounted to EUR 29.63 (29.59) and earnings per preferred share were at EUR 29.69 (29.65).
Arno Antlitz, CFO and COO of the Volkswagen Group, said: “Our performance last year demonstrated the improved resilience of the Volkswagen Group amid a challenging global backdrop. Despite significant supply chain challenges leading to a decline in overall delivery numbers, we delivered 572,100 all-electric vehicles and simultaneously further increased operating profits. Today's results provide more evidence of solid financial foundations on which we consistently implement our strategy. We expect the supply chain bottlenecks to gradually ease in the current year, allowing us to service the high order backlog.”
The Volkswagen Group is accelerating its transformation activities and investing in software, its battery business and in BEV as well as ICE platforms to prepare for major product launches from 2024. As a result, R&D spending increased to EUR 18.9 billion in 2022 with an R&D ratio of 8.1 percent in relation to Automotive revenues. Capital expenditures of EUR 12.7 billion testify to continued high investment discipline, corresponding to an investment capex ratio of 5.5 percent in relation to Automotive revenues in 2022.
Volkswagen Group anticipates that overall vehicle deliveries will rise to around 9.5 million in 2023 primarily driven by the strong order backlog on hand as semiconductor supply and logistics chain issues should ease in the course of the year. Volkswagen Group expects sales revenues to be 10 to 15 percent higher than the prior-year figure. In terms of operating result for the Group, an operating return on sales in the range of 7.5 to 8.5 percent is forecast for 2023.
In the Automotive Division, the R&D ratio is expected to come in at around 8 percent, and the ratio of capex to sales revenue at around 6.5 percent. Volkswagen Group expects a strong increase in reported net cash flow in 2023. Net liquidity is expected to range between EUR 35 and EUR 40 billion; this includes the inflows and outflows of funds in connection with the payment of the special and regular dividend of EUR 11 billion both due in 2023. The return on investment (ROI) is expected to be between 12 and 15 percent.
Challenges arise in particular from the economic environment, the increasing intensity of competition, volatile raw material, energy and foreign exchange markets, and stricter emission-related requirements.