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BMW warns 2019 profit before tax will be 'well below' 2018 levels

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG expects 2019 profit before tax to be "well below" 2018 levels due to investment in new technologies and mobility business as well as "significantly higher cost of complying with stricter CO2 legislation."

BMW Group's stock on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange dropped as much as 5.7% to €71.41 in intra-day trading following the announcement.

The German automaker said unfavorable currency factors and higher raw materials prices are expected have a "medium to high three-digit million negative impact," while pointing at ongoing international trade conflict as a "potential source of uncertainty."

"In 2019, the BMW Group will continue to invest substantial amounts in new technologies and the mobility of the future. However, costs are also being driven up in other areas, including the significantly higher cost of complying with stricter CO2 legislation. Against this background, rising manufacturing costs are likely to have a dampening effect on earnings," the company said.

Net profit for the Group in the fourth quarter dropped 39.3% year over year to about €1.42 billion, compared with €2.34 billion a year earlier. Earnings before tax for the quarter of €1.93 billion, however, beat consensus GAAP earnings before tax estimate of about €1.80 billion, as compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Automobile deliveries for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2018, edged up 0.5% to 655,854 units as quarterly revenue rose marginally 0.2% to €25.02 billion, missing the analysts' consensus estimate of €25.86 billion as compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

On March 15, the company warned of challenges in 2019 without giving out much detail as it reported a 2018 net profit fall of 16.9% year over year to €7.21 billion, while full-year revenue dipped to €97.48 billion.